Habitat for Humanity of Colorado (HFHC), the state support organization for the 25 affiliates serving 45 communities statewide, is proud to announce that Representative Julie McCluskie and Representative Naquetta Ricks are the recipients of the organization’s Legislators of the Year Award. HFHC identified these two Colorado policymakers for their unwavering support and ongoing work to help ensure all Coloradans have access to homeownership opportunities. They both have fought for affordable homeownership through their public policy work during the 2021 legislative session and HFHC is honored to have them as champions of our work.
“Habitat for Humanity is grateful to the legislators that have recognized the housing crisis Colorado is currently facing and are working to find creative and practical solutions,” explains Karen Kallenberg, HFHC Executive Director. “Both Representative McCluskie and Representative Ricks were willing to craft groundbreaking legislation expanding the tools and resources that will provide more Coloradans a safe, affordable home.”
Representative McCluskie championed HB21-1271 which allocates resources to local governments to incentivize best practices and more importantly, implement a menu of tools such as reducing fees and the creation of an expedited development review process. Additionally, through providing funding for planning grants and toolkit creation, HB21-1271 is offering a holistic approach to increasing affordable housing development in Colorado.
Representative Ricks led HB21-1134, a first-in-the-nation bill that establishes a statewide pilot program enabling tenant residents residing in properties whose landlords chose to participate in the pilot program facilitated by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) to opt to have rent payments reported to consumer credit bureaus. Rent reporting establishes a basic foundation from which communities of color, lower-income households and residents of rural communities can begin to establish or build credit.
Through their work in affordable homeownership, Representatives McCluskie and Ricks are doing more than putting a roof over a family’s head. By prioritizing a continuum of affordable housing options, they are creating social and economic mobility for families across the state. Research shows that homeownership is currently the largest single source of wealth building. “As our country and state look at advancing racial equity, we need more policymakers like Representatives McCluskie and Ricks to prioritize affordable homeownership to help decrease the wealth gap between non-Hispanic whites and communities of color,” said Kallenberg.
Now more than ever, a home is an important sanctuary for families across our state to feel safe, healthy, and secure. Habitat for Humanity has built, rehabilitated, and repaired over 3,300 homes across Colorado partnering with families making between 30-80% of the area median income. “Habitat for Humanity of Colorado is honored to recognize Representative McCluskie and Representative Ricks,” says Kallenberg. “They have championed affordable homeownership through their leadership, prioritization of resources and willingness to collaborate on solutions.”
2021 Legislators of the Year honorees include:
Representative Julie McCluskie is a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, representing District 61. She assumed office in January 2019. Representative McCluskie serves as Vice Chair for the Joint Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee.
Representative Naquetta Ricks is a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, representing District 40. She assumed office in January 2021. Representative Ricks serves on the Business Affairs & Labor and Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committees.
Habitat for Humanity of Colorado presented Representative Naquetta Ricks with this award on Monday, November 1 at Mountain View United Church. Pending zoning approval, this is the future site of 20 new, high quality, energy-efficient for-sale homes for homebuyers earning up to 80% of the Area Median Income (about $80,000) for a family of four.
About Habitat for Humanity of Colorado:
Habitat for Humanity builds safe, decent affordable homes to for low-income families who purchase the home with an affordable mortgage. For more information about Habitat for Humanity, please visit www.habitatcolorado.org.