For Denver to maintain and improve our high quality of life, inclusive of residents of all backgrounds and sustainable for future generations, we must ensure there is a balance between housing people …
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For Denver to maintain and improve our high quality of life, inclusive of residents of all backgrounds and sustainable for future generations, we must ensure there is a balance between housing people can afford and good-paying jobs. We also need an accessible and robust transportation and mobility network to help people move around in a variety of ways, whether walking, cycling, transit or driving.
Affordable housing is on the forefront of many minds throughout Denver. That is why in 2018 I led the charge to prohibit housing discrimination based on how someone pays to rent or purchases a home, and worked with council colleagues and the community to launch a free Eviction Legal Defense Program. Council voted to double affordable housing funding to a record of more than $50 million in 2019 and extend rental affordability to a minimum of 60 years. Last year’s housing fund built a record 1,200 affordable homes for those earning between $0-$64,750 for a family of three, and the Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance program (TRUA) helped 961 households with rent and 164 with utilities to avoid displacement. For more information on the TRUA program, visit https://bit.ly/2DdhZ0S.
My first goal for 2019 just passed: an expansion of the Low-Income Property Tax Rebate to reach more senior and disabled homeowners and to help homeowners with children for the first time. Low-income owners and renters may apply for a rebate of 2018’s property taxes after May 1.
To promote good-paying jobs, I collaborated with councilmember Deborah Ortega and the administration to create apprenticeship training goals and targeted outreach to vulnerable individuals for construction careers on large Denver projects. I am currently championing the passage of a $15 minimum wage for city employees, contractors and tenants.
To ensure community trust in our public safety services, I supported our community in successfully advocating for stricter standards for use of force by police. This year, councilmembers Paul Kashmann, Paul López and I are working to modernize and reinforce independent oversight of the police and sheriff by strengthening the Office of the Independent Monitor and the Citizen Oversight Board.
Regarding sustainability, in 2018 the city committed to new goals for reaching 100 percent renewable electricity communitywide by 2030, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. I will continue to actively support efforts to increase Denver’s waste diversion by incentivizing greater composting and recycling across the city.
Lastly, we must remain focused on transportation and mobility. Thanks to voters, $431 million of the Elevate Bond package is devoted to transportation and mobility, including 375 miles of road repairs, 50 miles of bike lanes and 33 miles of new sidewalks. The city’s 2019 budget includes $27 million more, focusing on pedestrian and bike infrastructure, filling sidewalk gaps and creating safer intersections. While substantial investment is being made, Denver needs dedicated, sustainable funding to improve our transportation network. It is one of my priorities this year to engage Denverites about the options for improving transit, roads and sidewalks for all users.
Your ideas and questions are welcome. My office hopes to hear from you. Please email Kniechatlarge@denvergov.org to continue the conversation.
Robin Kniech is a councilmember at-large on the Denver City Council. At-large council members represent the city as a whole.
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