December 21, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Gov. Bill Ritter today joined the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and dozens of community members to break ground on a 98-unit apartment building for the chronically homeless and low-income. Future tenants who are currently homeless will help construct the building in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Gov. Ritter used the groundbreaking to also announce several jobs, anti-hunger and healthcare initiatives his administration is undertaking to mend and strengthen the state’s tattered safety net.
“The Colorado I know is compassionate. The Colorado I know cares about people. The Colorado I know appreciates that a helping hand is simply the right thing to do,” Gov. Ritter said. “Housing is a key part of the safety net, and I’m pleased that my administration is helping to make the Uptown Lofts housing development a reality. I’m also pleased to announce several other initiatives on healthcare, hunger and jobs.”
The Governor congratulated the Coalition for the Homeless for its new jobs program, Renaissance Works, which will provide homeless people with construction jobs building the new apartment project. “When the Uptown Lofts project is done, those workers may be among the building’s new tenants,” Gov. Ritter said. “And with that recent employment experience under their belts, this will make it easier for them to find employment in the future. This is about constructing a building, but more importantly, it’s about constructing hope.”
Gov. Ritter said Renaissance Works will complement new state efforts to provide housing and jobs and combat hunger:
- The state is using $15.4 million from the Recovery Act and $4.7 million in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds for homelessness prevention. More than 40 local agencies will provide services to needy families in all 64 Colorado counties, helping with utility bills, back rent and financial counseling. This funding collaboration between the state’s Division of Housing and Department of Human Services will transform service delivery and avoid duplication of paperwork and services. More than 2,000 Colorado families will not become homeless over the next three years thanks to the program, and more than 1,400 families will get housing. The TANF funds will serve an additional 1,440 families facing homelessness by June 30, 2010.
- Hire Colorado will use $11.25 million in Recovery Act funds to provide an employment subsidy to companies that hire TANF-eligible temporary workers. The program will help credit-strapped businesses hire 1,700 people over the next six months to meet local market demands in areas such as healthcare, healthcare IT and hospitality.
- The Campaign to End Childhood Hunger — a partnership with Gov. Ritter’s Office, the national Share our Strength organization and the Colorado Coalition to End Hunger – will strive to eliminate childhood hunger in Colorado by 2015. First-year efforts will strive to increase the number of eligible children in school breakfast and summer food programs.
- The state is working to contain skyrocketing healthcare costs for employers and private insurance consumers by providing coverage to uninsured Coloradans:The Colorado Healthcare Affordability Act, signed into law by Gov. Ritter earlier this year, will provide Medicaid coverage to 100,000 uninsured Coloradans.
- The state was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to support and expand competitive employment opportunities for Coloradans with disabilities through a Medicaid buy-in program.
- The state is streamlining application procedures and requirements to help qualifying individuals and families enroll in Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus.
Earlier this week, Gov. Ritter announced that two new companies are expanding to Colorado, bringing nearly 240 jobs. His aggressive economic development strategy is putting people back to work by attracting industry to expand or move to Colorado. Gov. Ritter also recently announced job-training legislation to get Coloradans re-trained for new employment.
“There’s no denying these are painful times — times that demand compassion, thoughtfulness and strong leadership,” Gov. Ritter said. “While we can’t print money, we can use state money smartly. We can leverage state resources with federal and private dollars, and we can maximize what our money produces. We can be both compassionate and fiscally responsible.
“And most importantly, we can work together so that in the years ahead we can all look back and say with confidence that we rose to the challenge.”
Megan Castle, 303.866.6386, megan.castle (at) state.co (dot) us