By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis has signed four bills into law, doubling the money spent on affordable housing in Colorado. A Westminster man, humbled by his own search for affordable housing, helped champion the legislation.

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Mike Medina and his wife lost their jobs and then their home after suffering debilitating injuries.

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“I used to have the mindset that people who lived in affordable housing were lazy and didn’t have any initiative,“ said Medina. “Shoe’s on the other foot, now.”

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Medina says they faced sticker shock as they searched for an affordable apartment. The average one bedroom apartment runs more than $1,400 in Colorado. He felt like he hit the jackpot when he found a place at Alton Apartments in Westminster, a brand new affordable housing complex.

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“My heart smiles just thinking about the way they were able to accommodate my wife and myself. I want other people to be able to feel the same way,” said Medina.

Which is why he lobbied for the passage of four bills to expand the supply of affordable housing in Colorado.

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Rep. Shannon Bird, a Democrat representing Adams County, sponsored two of the bills.

She says they are a hand up not hand out.

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“The way that we have used affordable housing in the state of Colorado is to break inter-generational poverty,” said Bird.

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One of her bills doubles the tax credit for developers who build affordable housing. The other bill identifies undeveloped land and vacant buildings owned by the state that could be used for affordable housing.

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“So that now we can start repurposing things that taxpayers have already invested in, instead of going to taxpayers and asking for more and buying more of what we already have and might not be using,” said Bird.

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In all, the four bills allocate $230 million over the next five years for affordable housing. It’s estimated the investment could triple the supply of affordable housing statewide.

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Shaun Boyd

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