|Affordable Housing-Foundation for Economic Security
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the 2013 COLORADO Housing wage is $17.26 per hour, which is the amount needed to afford a decent two bedroom apartment. However the average renter’s household earnings are $14.38.
Many Colorado workers earn less than the average wage and instead earn the minimum wage of $7.78 per hour, leaving decent housing completely out of reach of thousands of Coloradans.
The private sector has done much to provide housing to Colorado’s workers, but the gap between wages and rent can’t be made up entirely by the private sector.
|Elder Impact Group-Aging in Community on Fixed Incomes
The Elder Impact group engages in regular community policy meetings to discuss issues of aging in place, economic security and other concerns for low-income seniors including; housing, the surrounding “built environment”, transportation, food insecurity, living healthy with access to appropriate health care, and the economic security of family caregivers.
Recognizing the changing demographics of their communities, the group is addressing its previous notions about community, race and class. The process of engaging a diverse group of people who have been disenfranchised includes vocalizing and mitigating bigotries, feelings of isolation, past hurts and the victimization of continued discrimination that underlies the Latino and African-American communities.
|Speaking Out-Personal and Community Advocacy
Systems change and policy reform do not occur without the work of advocates and passionate community leaders ready to take action. As we are discovering, effective change, informed by the voices of those most likely to feel the impact, is the truest way to create an equitable society.
The goal of this project is to strengthen the voices and ideas of Colorado’s low-income populations as they work to mold the policies and systems that affect their everyday lives.
|Collective Impact-The Power of Policy Innovation
Creating equity through policy change includes building the capacity of public agencies, stakeholder groups, and the public to use collaborative strategies and increase community power. Following are our current impact efforts for legislative change:
Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force – Housing Subcommittee and Workforce Development Committee participants. Legislative proposals include supporting utility assistance for seniors through the heat rebate process and supporting education/employment re-engagement for Colorado’s opportunity youth with funding for adult basic education.
All Families Deserve A Chance Coalition – members of the Executive committee and chair of the Legislative Committee. The All Families Deserve A Chance Coalition is a partnership between government, direct service providers and advocates who work to enhance the delivery of human services and public assistance for Colorado’s household living in poverty.
|Opportunity Youth-Swimming Upstream to Reduce Poverty
Opportunity youth are Colorados least engaged young adult population and have been severed from our very linear system of employment success through education. Many of these young adults come from low-income households and quickly age into poverty with little hopes of getting to the bottom rung of any career ladder or pathway to economic prosperity.
Although established programs and new projects to address issues faced by opportunity youth are in place, they appear to operate in isolation and have limited measurable impact on the lives of the people they serve.
A goal of the Denver Opportunity Youth Investment Collaborative is to unify the fragmented support network and leverage the assets that are available. The primary strategy for reaching this goal is the use of the collective impact model as a governance tool for bringing stakeholders together.