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Mid-Session Review: Creating Pathways to Success for all Coloradans

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Every day, Mile High United Way strives to impact change across Metro Denver. We seek to affect policy change through our advocacy efforts at the local, state and national levels. Recently, President and CEO Christine Benero and members of our leadership team shared with Colorado lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and Denver how we’re supporting families in our community.

From connecting families to quality early childhood education and supporting migrant families to helping middle- and low-income residents access valuable tax credits, we are working toward a brighter future for all Coloradans.

“I’m always encouraged for the future of our community after meeting with our elected leaders. They carefully and intentionally consider the most effective methods for supporting Coloradans, and how best to support ongoing efforts here in Colorado,” said Christine Benero.

Thank you to the offices of U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse, Brittany Pettersen, Dr. Yadira Caraveo, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette and U.S. Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet for engaging with us in these important conversations.

We continue to closely monitor two bills moving through Colorado’s legislative process. House Bill 23-1091 is a bipartisan effort to extend the Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit (CCTC). Senate Bill 23-082 aims to provide additional housing vouchers and case management support for young people aging out of the child welfare system. On April 6, Senate Bill 23-082 passed the second reading of the Colorado Senate and will move to the third reading, before making its way to the House.

The Community Impact

The CCTC has been a key driver of child care funding in Colorado for 25 years, providing a 50% tax credit up to $100,000 for monetary donations to organizations and programs that promote child care across the state. Quality child care is fundamental for a thriving and equitable society, as demonstrated during widespread closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research also shows that quality early care supports long-term growth and development, helping children succeed in school and beyond.

The Fostering Success Program hopes to support other state and federal housing voucher programs that serve young adults who have aged out of the child welfare system. This aid is critical – an estimated one-third of former foster youth experience homelessness by age 26, and roughly 20% face homelessness the moment they turn 18. Our Bridging the Gap program connects young adults to safe and stable housing through existing state and federal voucher programs, so we see the positive impact of these vouchers first-hand.

“I’ve had my voucher for almost six years now, and it has given me a new chance at life. Since being in a stable living situation … I’ve gotten reinvolved with the programs that are guiding me to the career that I want to be in: foster care emancipation advocacy.”

— Shelby, a Bridging the Gap participant, during her testimony before the Colorado State Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

After connecting participants to stable housing, Mile High United Way provides wraparound support including education and career opportunities, and wellness supports helping participants move toward greater independence and stability.

“Our policy work is guided by our commitment to social justice and equity for all. The systems which govern society continue to create inequity, which we strive to address through policy change. The Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit creates pathways for investment, ensuring all children in Colorado have access to quality early child care and education. The Fostering Youth Success program shows our young adults that we care about their future and are ready to support them,” said Roweena Naidoo, Mile High United Way’s vice president of policy and community initiatives.

Get Involved

Mile High United Way’s policy work centers on addressing the systems that create barriers for historically marginalized groups. We use an equity lens to remove barriers and create pathways to success for all Coloradans. Follow the latest updates and learn how you can join us in this important work.

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