CCC Testifies in Support of Affordable Housing Project before Aurora City Council

Here is the testimony provided virtually by Father Michael Nicosia on Monday, October 25, 2021 to the Aurora City Council. The testimony is in favor of a proposed housing project at Mountain View United Church in Aurora, Colorado:

My name is Fr. Michael Nicosia, a member of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Council of Churches, and a resident of Aurora.  Thank you, Mayor Coffman and esteemed Council Members for the opportunity to speak in support of Mountain View United Church R-2 Zoning. The 14 member denominations of the Colorado Council of Churches support such initiatives and applaud congregations like Mountain View for seeking to provide affordable housing to some of Aurora’s citizens.

One of the painful realities in our society is that wages have not increased enough to keep up with the cost of living. Back in 2012 I began working full-time for a local hospice, making less than $35,000 annually; over the course of  my 3-year chaplaincy I didn’t receive a single raise in my hourly pay rate. However, as wages have remained stagnant housing prices have continued to increase. At present one in three households in Aurora are cost burdened many of which are essential workers. .  Now nearing retirement age—though working for the church I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do so! —if my husband were to become unable to work or should die before me, I might not be able to keep up with the mortgage payments. With housing prices being so inflated in recent years, if I needed to sell, my finding affordable housing on a limited income would be a struggle, if not an impossibility. According to the MLS, the number of homes for sale under $300,000 has decreased 76% since 2018.  As of August 2021 in Aurora, there were a meager 76 properties for sale in this price range.

The city’s comprehensive housing plans specifically call out the need to create more housing that might be affordable for our city’s workforce earning under $80,000 a year.  While I admit that that threshold would be out of reach for many, the Mountain View project and others like it would be an invaluable good start

I and my colleagues of the Colorado Council of Churches support this project. Thank you for considering this matter as it impacts the well-being of our citizens and ultimately of our entire City. I respectfully request your affirmative vote on the proposed Site Plan and re-zoning application

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