Gov. John Hickenlooper is proposing “aggressive” new efforts to address homelessness in Colorado, returning to an issue that helped launch his political career in his final two years in office.
The governor’s budget request for fiscal year 2017-2018 asks lawmakers to put $12.3 million in annual marijuana tax revenues toward building new housing units for people who experience chronic and episodic homelessness. His plan also includes another $6 million a year for housing for low-income residents and others with behavioral health needs.
The approach is a first for the administration and the fresh focus comes as new federal figures show Colorado’s homeless rate is increasing at one of the higher rates in the nation.
“I’m doubling down,” Hickenlooper said.
The Democrat credits his desire to reduce homelessness as one of the reasons he ran for Denver mayor in 2003, and he expresses a personal connection to the issue from his days as a business owner downtown. [Read more at Denver Post]