We’re not going to solve the Fort Collins housing shortage by nibbling at the edges. We need to tackle it head on — with big, comprehensive solutions that match the size of the problems we have. That is why now, we are pushing to change U+2 to something more equitable and inclusive.
CREATING A RENTER FRIENDLY FORT COLLINS
- Engaging with the city through City Council and other administrators, and starting conversations about how Fort Collins can do better
- This initiative is driven by our values, in the fight for increasing housing supply and lowering housing demand
- Going through the city’s current process: the Ad Hoc Committee, their reading and discussion around it, and their vote on February 16th
CHANGES WE BELIEVE MUST BE MADE
- Streamlining the extra occupancy process by making the application cheaper and making the process so that it can be engaged by tenants, and not just landlords
- Lowering the fine for noncompliance, as it currently is $1,000 per person, per day, which has the potential to send any working class person into bankruptcy
- Protecting renters with a a complimentary Renter Protection Unit that helps investigate when a renter has been the victim of health and well-being threatening conditions, like standing mold or unfixed appliances
- Understanding that U+2 is a policy that discriminates against the poor, the Latinx community, and the LGBTQ community
- Housing shortages lead to environmentally unfriendly decisions, let's make a environmentally friendly policy
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Step 1. Write a email.
From your email browser, start a new email. In the "To" field, look for your City Councilperson's correspondence below:
- Darin Atteberry, City Manager
- Wade Troxell, Mayor
- Susan Gutowsky, Councilmember, District 1
- Julie Pignataro, Councilmember, District 2
- Ken Summers, Councilmember, District 3
- Ross Cunniff, Mayor Pro Temp &Councilmember, District 5
- Emily Gorgol, Councilmember, District 6
- Email all the City Councilmembers and the City Manager at email@example.com
In the Subject line, put one of the following "Affordable Housing," "Safe Housing," "Accountable Housing," "Me + 3," or "Let the people decide the future of housing."
Unsure of which district you live in? Use the link below to help.
Step 2. Write your introductory paragraph.
- This should be pretty short. Include your name, the fact that you are a voting Fort Collins city resident, and something personal about yourself, like your major, and other Fort Collins associations, like where you volunteer, go to church, or have a part-time job.
Step 3. Make your case.
- Personal case. Tell your story, if you have been negatively been impacted by this law, or stories of people you care about. Research shows that sharing personal narratives is the best way to change people’s minds.
- Talk about your values, and the values you want Fort Collins to hold and show. It’s time for cities to show they care about working and poor people, and students! That’s a local issue more than anything, and we need real leadership from local leaders -- now.
- Cite research and statistics. We have a working document with relevant facts & stats you might want to cite nelow.
You can use the sample email below as a template.
Dear Mayor Troxell, City Manager Atteberry and Councilmembers Gutowsky, Pignataro, Summers, Cunniff, Gorgol.
I am writing today in support of reforming the current housing ordinance U+2, which limits occupancy rates in Fort Collins to three non-family persons to a house, regardless of number of rooms per house, occupancy financials, or outside factors.
Reforming U+2 is essential, as it has been a community-wide issue for years now, and housing ordinances accross the nation are being reformed, with community initiatives fighting against arcane laws and rules that do more damage than benefits across the board.
For instance, I am a college student and currently living in an off-campus house, and we have a empty bedroom unable to be filled. The benefits of being able to fill it include:
- Reason 1
- Reason 2
- Reason 3
- Reason 4
As you can see, as it currently is, the negative effects are wide-ranging, and the benefits of reforming U+2 outweigh the commonly stated negatives. I am excited as a voting community member to see initative taken on this issue.
If you wish to state some statistics, feel free to choose from the list below.
GET THE FACTS
- 10% of residents who feel positively about the availability of affordable quality housing in Fort Collins. This is much lower than national benchmark comparisons. (City of Fort Collins, 2019 community survey)
- Affordable housing was the most cited issue from Fort Collins citizens when asked to state the most important area where they want leadership to focus. (City of Fort Collins, 2019 community survey)
- 3 years in a row in which less than 12% of residents said they feel positive about the availability of affordable housing in Fort Collins. (City of Fort Collins, 2019 community survey)
- 34% of households found to be out of compliance with U+2 who made less than $30,000 in yearly income. 24% made between $20,000 and $29,999. This law targets the poor. (Corona Insights Occupancy Study)
- Affordable housing is the biggest challenge facing Fort Collins Ad Hoc Housing Council Committee, as stated by them: Price escalation impacts everyone & disproportionately impacts BIPOC households. (Fort Collins Ad Hoc Housing Council Committee slides, 11/12/20)
- According to the City of Fort Collins itself, “we do not have enough capacity to meet housing demands.” What’s more, “limits on density make funding affordable projects challenging.” (Fort Collins Ad Hoc Housing Council Committee slides, 11/12/20)
- POLICY LIV 5.5 of Fort Collins’ Master Plan. This calls to “Integrate the distribution of affordable housing as part of individual neighborhoods and the larger community,” an ethic consistent with increasing density by incrementally increasing to Me + 3. (Fort Collins City Plan, adopted 4/16/19)
- More than 11,000 households in Fort Collins considered “cost-burdened.” (Housing Catalyst, as reported in The Coloradoan)
- 65% increase in rental costs in Fort Collins since 2005, a notably larger increase than similar cities. (Corona study)
- 67% of U+2 violation complaints declared “unfounded,” by inspectors. More often than not, these complaints are harassment, and do not lead to revealing code violators. (Corona study)
- X20 revenue increase for property owners in Fort Collins since 2014, going from $500,000 to nearly $10,000,000. (Corona study)
- Top issue cited by those in favor of current U+2 policies: vehicles parked inappropriately. Feels like a far less pressing issue than being able to afford to live, eat, and pay for health care in Fort Collins. (Corona study)
- 1,200 estimated current violator households, groups of people who feel like criminals in Fort Collins. (Corona study)
- 46.4% of the city are renters. That’s almost 78,000 negatively impacted by this law. (Corona study)
- According to the City of Fort Collins’ Corona Study, 13% of violators are children. Yes, children in Fort Collins are illegal for where they live. (Corona study)
- $366,500 is the medium home value in Fort Collins. (Corona study)
- 6% increase in the average rental unit cost from 2009-2018. (Corona study)
- 47 total code complaints deemed to be legit in the last year cited in the Corona study, 2017.
- 41% of CSU students cannot cover their costs of schools and living on their own or through family help, and rely on loans to make ends meet. 21% of CSU students receive Pell Grants, which means that their families are low income, and the federal government deems they need the help. (National Center for Education Statistics)
- 47% of CSU students are workers and community members. 47% of students at CSU participate in community service and volunteer work. 53% of students have off-campus jobs in the community to make ends meet, in addition to their student course load. (CSU INFACT 2019-2020)
- 80% of incoming freshmen receive financial aid. (CSU INFACT 2019-2020)