KRDO and Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity hosted a mayoral forum on affordable housing at the Ent Center last week.
Attendees were able to meet candidates in the lobby and submit questions before the forum began. The forum was split into two parts, each with six candidates.
The first part of the forum included mayoral candidates Sallie Clark, Kallan Reece Rodebaugh, John “Tig” Tiegen, Yemi Mobolade, Christopher Mitchell and Lawrence Joseph Martinez. They each tackled questions on how they plan to make housing more affordable in Colorado Springs.
“What affordable housing is for me is where I don’t have to ask my parents for money for rent,” Rodebaugh said.
Martinez believes it is paramount to involve the community in the conversation to fix the housing crisis and make it more affordable.
According to a pamphlet handed out at the forum, the current median price of a home is $445,000 in Colorado Springs. Many first responders, teachers and social workers, among others, are unable to afford a home at that price.
Several candidates, including Tiegen, cited issues with the government and organizations and promised to reform these flawed systems if elected.
“We don’t have an income problem,” Tiegen said. “We have an allocation problem.”
Clark believes part of the solution to making housing more affordable is to work with non-profits like Habitat for Humanity. In contrast, Martinez believes that while working with non-profits is a good thing, it cannot provide sustainable, long term solutions.
Mobolade discussed his plan to continue working with organizations to improve the state of the affordable housing in Colorado Springs.
“While there is no silver bullet to fix this issue, I am proud of the many efforts by leaders and organizations,” Mobolade said. “I see an opportunity as mayor to further this work and to create an even more coordinated effort between public and private partnerships.”
The second part of the forum included mayoral candidates Longinos Gonzalez Jr., Tom Strand, Andrew Dalby, Jim Miller, Darryl Glenn and Wayne Williams.
Candidates like Miller and Glenn advocated for property rights, as well as lower taxes and fees.
Glenn thinks that certain governmental actions are causing high housing costs. “Interest rates are absolutely going through the roof; that’s having a huge impact on families,” he said. “I think we also need to look at some of the policies that are coming down from the federal government and our state government that’s … increasing the cost of housing.”
Self-proclaimed “just a guy” Miller was in support of the other candidates’ stances on lowering taxes and fees.
“Too many rules, too many laws, too many taxes. I got plenty of time left, you guys have heard this three or four times already, so let’s get this guy talking some more, huh?” said Miller passing the mic to the next candidate, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
Students looking to find more information on these candidates and their platforms can visit the election ballot information page.
Photo from istockphoto.com.