Bosselman: Local officials can’t be trusted to build the housing Colorado needs |

Bosselman: Local officials can’t be trusted to build the housing Colorado needs

Andy Bosselman
Colorado Sun
The Colorado Sun

Right now, thousands of people in Colorado endure the cruel indignities of homelessness. And millions of others struggle to afford food, utilities, and medicine after paying their mortgages and rent. In response, Gov. Jared Polis and state lawmakers have proposed a law to make housing more affordable for everyone. 

The bill, known as “More Housing Now,” would relax the roadblocks, red tape, and zoning restrictions local governments use to stop urgently needed new housing from getting built. And it has many city council members, town managers, and mayors across the state throwing tizzies and temper tantrums. 

They are angry because the legislation would trim some of their power. But state lawmakers must ignore their opposition and pass the bill. Simply put: Local leaders have had decades to solve the housing shortages in their communities. And they have failed.  

Today, 1.9 million Coloradans live in homes that cost more than 30% of their household income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 1 out of every 3 people in the state. For people in these “cost-burdened households,” often all it takes to end up on the streets is an unexpected illness, car repair, or family emergency. And between 2007 and 2021, the number of people staying in Colorado homeless shelters increased 266%, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

At this scale, homelessness and housing unaffordability are humanitarian crises. To solve these emergencies, you might think local officials would welcome help from the state. But most are fuming about this proposed law, including Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. 

To read the full Colorado Sun column, click here.