The following is the CCC’s testimony in support of SB23-001 which was repassed by the Senate on April 27, 2023.
The Colorado Catholic Conference supports SB 1 which addresses the affordable housing crisis impacting Coloradans across our state.
Economic justice is a tenant of Catholic Social Teaching and a priority of the Colorado Bishops, this includes addressing the affordable housing crisis in an equitable way that ensures the most disadvantaged in our society are both cared for and put on a path of upward mobility. The Church often provides affordable housing as a charity, sometimes in partnership with the state.
According to a recent analysis, Colorado is short 127,000 housing units, which means our state has one of the largest housing shortages in the country. Ninety-eight percent of Coloradans live in a county with an aggregate housing supply shortage, according to the Common Sense Institute. Meanwhile housing affordability has decreased by 92 percent since 2015. It is critical that Colorado lawmakers take action to improve housing affordability. If enacted, SB 001 would provide an important and effective step toward this end.
SB 1 advances the use of public-private partnerships to increase the number of housing units in the state. In addition to a $13 million appropriation, SB 001 grants the Public-Private Collaboration unit the ability to act as an agent on behalf of the Department of Personnel in real estate transactions. This policy will prompt collaborative efforts to increase development and alleviate the affordable housing crisis.
Catholic teaching supports the right to private property, but recognizes that communities and the government have an obligation to ensure the housing needs of all are met, especially poor and vulnerable people and their families. In a time of rising homelessness and when many workers’ wages are stagnant and living expenses are rising, it is important to ensure housing security.
Our civic leaders have an obligation to pursue policies to expand affordable housing when needed, and do so in a way that promotes public-private partnerships and charity. This ensures that the aim of affordable housing does not result in an unintended pipeline of poverty and those in struggling situations are lifted up to a new life of opportunity for themselves and their families.
The Colorado Catholic Conference, on behalf of the bishops of Colorado, respectfully asks for your “yes” vote on this important bill.