For Immediate Release
September 30, 2020
Denver, CO— Yesterday, community leaders and advocates launched the campaign for Ballot Measure 2B on the November 2020 ballot. Denver City Councilwoman Robin Kniech and John Parvensky, President and CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, were joined by Diana Flahive, Executive Director of the Women’s Homeless Initiative, and local comedian Joshua Emerson. Attendees also heard from two people with lived experience of homelessness, Cuica Montoya and Rosalinda Sanchez.
Councilwoman Kniech reflected on her volunteer work as a teenager at a suburban homeless shelter for families with children. Over her career, Kniech has worked with residents and community leaders to take a new approach and think of homelessness “as people, not a problem.” Kniech discussed the importance of building housing and providing transition and support services to help reduce homelessness in Denver. Measure 2B includes a 0.25% sales tax which would not be charged on basic necessities including food, gas, medicine, and feminine hygiene products to ensure that people with low to no income are not disproportionately impacted.
Parvensky talked about homelessness as the intersection of housing, racial, and healthcare justice, and as the outcome of poverty. Through his 35 years as President and CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Parvensky has proven that housing strategies like the Denver Social Impact Bond will help to reduce homelessness in our community. “Tonight, we are housing 4000 households. Without our help, these families – many with children – would be homeless, almost doubling homelessness in Denver. Measure 2B takes our best practices, the strategies we know work and grows it to meet the needs of our city.”
Cuica Montoya, a person who has experienced homelessness herself, sought out transitional housing and then transitioned to own subsidized apartment. Through that process, Montoya became passionate about helping others get connected to services, and lead to her journey to work as a peer navigator with the Denver Public Library, and now to the Colorado Village Collaborative. “We need to see an expansion of services for people falling through the cracks.”
Diana Flahive, Director of Women’s Homelessness Initiative (WHI), invited a former participate of the program to speak. Rosalinda Sanchez has now been housed for three years after entering the WHI program. She is now safe and no longer sleeping outside. “Vote yes on 2B so all our neighbors have a home too.”
Measure 2B will allow Denver to build 1,800 homes with supportive services over the next ten years. This housing will help transition people into housing from shelters or unsheltered living situations and provide services like employment counseling or behavioral health care. For more information about Measure 2B, visit yeson2b.org.
Kneich ended the night by answering a question from an attendee: “Measure 2B is a test of hope for our city and our neighbors. By voting Yes on 2B this fall, our community has the ability to give stability, shelter and a hand up to the people who need it most.”