By Dillon Thomas

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – Dozens of senior citizens in northern Colorado came together to advocate for rent increase restrictions after they say landlords are pricing them out of their own homes. They live in the Grand Meadow community on 17th Avenue in Longmont.

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Residents were invited to a town hall meeting Saturday where local and state officials served on a panel to answer questions about the current housing market. Those in attendance vocalized concerns about the inflation rate of rent in the past four years, especially on those with fixed incomes.

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“I worry about the State of Colorado. Somebody has to do something to help these people,” said Kenneth Brantley, one of the residents who attended the town hall.

Brantley said he was one of the few in his community who could manage to get by with recent rent increases. However, he said he has been left to help feed some of his neighbors, some of whom live on an income of less than $900 a month.

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“Every year they keep raising the space rent on them,” Brantley told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.

Brantley said rentals at his community often run nearly $650, leaving residents with only a few hundred dollars for utilities, groceries, insurance and other expenses.

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“That means you might not be able to buy food, or you might not be able to eat,” Brantley said.

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“Affordable housing isn’t charity. It is infrastructure,” said State Rep. Jonathan Singer, a resident of Longmont. “This is how democracy should work. Someone stands up, they see a problem, and they talk to their neighbors. (Then,) their neighbors all come out like they did today.”

Singer said a bill at the capitol could soon give counties and cities the opportunity to price control rentals. While many residents at the town hall applauded a measure, it was strongly opposed by the Colorado Apartment Association. A spokesperson with the association told CBS4 studies showed putting caps on the sales of anything quickly decreased the demand for that product.

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“Once you are a senior citizen, you have worked hard and paid your dues, but then you are on a fixed income. But, we know rent isn’t fixed,” Singer said.

“A lot of the people there are barely getting by. That is the truth about it, they are barely getting by,” Brantley said.

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Some of the residents from the town hall were going to travel to the capital in Denver, Monday, to testify about their renting concerns. That session was expected to begin at 1:30 p.m.

Dillon Thomas