The city of Aurora, Colorado has agreed to use part of the $4.5 million in revenue earned from newly-legalized sales of marijuana to help its homeless population.
Over the next two years, Aurora will fund a local nonprofit that helps area families who live in motels.
via Aurora Sentinel:
At a spring workshop April 30, Aurora City Council members agreed to give $220,000 to Colfax Community Network for operating expenses through the year’s end. The nonprofit educates low-income families living in motels and apartments along the Colfax corridor about helpful community services.
The decision was part of a longer discussion surrounding what to do with $4.5 million over the next two years to address homelessness in Colorado’s third-largest city.
At a special study session Feb. 29, council members gave initial approval to allocating $1.5 million for homeless services from the city’s 2017 and 2018 budgets. That’s in addition to the $1.5 million approved as part of this year’s budget. The money is coming from the city’s marijuana sales tax revenue.
“The Colfax Community Network is in extremely dire straits in that they do not have funds to continue operating,” said Nancy Sheffield, director of Aurora neighborhood services.
Ward I Councilwoman Sally Mounier, whose ward encompasses many of the motels that low-income families stay in on East Colfax Avenue, said the nonprofit needed to be funded “immediately.” CCN also provides provides homeless families staying in local motels with food, clothing, hygiene products and diapers.
Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan agreed but was reserved about funding CCN for more than a year.
“I believe there’s a value to it beyond just what it does,” Hogan said of the nonprofit. “That value is that it’s an organization that’s been around for years. Organizations that have been around for years tend to catch the eye of funding foundations. The problem with Colfax Community Network is, in my view, there were a lot of well-intentioned people who had no idea how to go out and get money. That’s why they’re in trouble now. Saving it makes sense to me.”
Isn’t it wild how in some parts of the country,selling marijuana can lead to increased funding for social programs while in others it leads to incarceration?