COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — As the city of Colorado Springs celebrates its 150 year anniversary, a coalition of community groups and individuals will be marching to remind city leadership that thousands of people in the city are being left out in the cold sometimes literally.
The march began at Dorchester Park and will end with a press conference downtown along with a distribution of food and personal items for those facing homelessness.
Members of the coalition say Colorado Springs is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. This crisis is a human tragedy as residents struggle to pay rent, face eviction and often are forced to live on the streets. The housing crisis has also impacted the city’s business development as potential employers have chosen not to relocate to Colorado Springs due to the rapid increase in cost of living.
“Working families can no longer afford to live in Colorado Springs,” The Colorado Springs Housing for All Coalition said in a statement. “For example, those looking to purchase a house have seen median housing prices jump by over $150,000 in the last 5 years from less than $300,000 to $450,000. Renters are getting squeezed as well. Over the last 3 years average rents have increased by 20%. The average rent in Colorado Springs is currently $1,300. This is a creating a burden for thousands of households in the area. In fact, 32% of households are cost-burdened in El Paso county, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income on housing. In addition, according to the city, approximately 1,500 individuals in Colorado Springs are unhoused.”
According to the coalition, city leaders know this is a problem and have acknowledged that the city has a 20,000 unit deficit for affordable housing.
The Colorado Springs Housing for All Coalition is calling for:
- Flex zoning to increase the availability of land for higher density housing, and increased mixed use
- Inclusionary zoning, which would require developers to set aside a certain percentage of new developments as affordable housing
- City land banking, which would set aside land to be used for affordable housing in perpetuity
- Set aside and regularly contribute city general fund money to a housing trust fund to help fund affordable housing; the city could seed the fund with ARPA funds
- Greater tenants rights to keep renters in their homes and give them greater voice in their housing
Speakers during Saturday’s event include:
- Mellissa Hall, formerly homeless single mom living on a fixed income and community volunteer
- Catria aka Bliss, Organizer of Unhoused Community
- Max Krondstat, Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership
- Rebecca Robles, Colorado Springs DSA
The Colorado Springs Housing for All Coalition includes The Colorado Springs Democratic Socialists of America(DSA), Colorado Springs Tenant Union, Chinook Center, Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership and concerned citizens of Colorado Springs.