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Colorado bill would provide public housing benefits regardless of immigration status

Colorado bill would provide public housing benefits regardless of immigration status
April rent looms

COLORADO (KRDO) -- Colorado looks to be the first state to provide housing benefits to residents regardless of immigration status. Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign the bill, which lawmakers passed on March 30th.

This bill would roughly affect an estimated 180,000 people living in Colorado without authorization.

Families across colorado have been dealing with the financial turmoil brought by this pandemic, but for many undocumented families, it's been difficult trying to make ends meet. Many depend on non-profits for survival.

"Most of our clients do not receive any of the stimulus support, they don't have access to a lot of the public assistance that a lot of us do," said Hannah Martin, Director of Accompaniment and Sanctuary Coalition in Colorado Springs, a non-profit that aims to help immigrant families in Southern Colorado.

"We've been able to help keep 66 families housed and that was with multiple months of rent payments, utilities, making sure they have food and groceries," said Martin. This bill for housing benefits though -- is giving non-profits like these a sense of joy.

Colorado State Senator Julie Gonzales, the sponsor of this bill, believes it's unfair that a family would be barred from the stimulus assistance due to one person in the family being undocumented. That's why she hopes Governor Polis signs this bill into law, hoping to allow all Coloradans to thrive.

KRDO spoke with one undocumented family in Colorado Springs, who wishes to remain anonymous, that would benefit from the bill.

"It would mean a lot because we have been going through a lot of struggles, we can't pay the rent," said the family.

This family's rent is about $1,000. Right now in their household, there are three adults and six children.

With only one working adult bringing in about $300 to $400 dollars- it's barely enough.

Julissa Soto with Servicios De La Raza, another non-profit helping immigrant families during this pandemic, believes this bill could keep a lot of families off the streets.

"This means fewer families with food insecurity, housing insecurity," said Soto.

According to the American Immigration Council in 2018, 10% of the population were immigrants in the United States. In Colorado Springs -- that number stood above 7-percent.

This bill aims to help undocumented families at the state level for rental housing programs, federal funds would still be restricted.

For more on how to get housing assistance click the link below:

Servicios De La Raza

Accompaniment and Sanctuary Coalition Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Rental Assistance Program

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Jasmine Arenas

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