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Letter to the editor: I don't want to leave

"Without affordable housing, I am forced to leave a community that raised me," Holmes said.
6-5 Housing Prices

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I came to Boulder through a scholarship for people experiencing intimate partner abuse. I was driven to come out here to pursue my education and create some distance from my past life.

I contacted SPAN, and they were able to shelter me for a couple of weeks until I transitioned into renting a room. Soon I was able to secure an apartment at Thistle, which is geared to assist people with low-income rental options. At the time, it was still $1,000 a month, and as a single mother, this was very hard to swing.

I got help from A Woman's Work, EFFA, and the OUR Center to make ends meet until finally I applied and became eligible for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. The Family Self-Sufficiency Program helped me secure housing with Boulder County Housing Authority. It provided me with monthly checkups and engagement opportunities to help me integrate into the community. 

Once I secured stable housing, I could dive into my educational pursuits. While attending Front Range Community College, I was elected to be the State Student Advisory Council Member, who was the sole voice for the Boulder County Campus student population. While there, I also created a Unity Fair, an all-day event that brought the community to the school.

Upon graduating with my Associate's, I transferred to Metropolitan State University, where I served as the Student Government Association's Student Body President. Also, I completed a year-long internship at the OUR Center as the Participant Advocate. Upon graduating with my Bachelor's Degree in political science with a minor in sociology, I pursued my Master's Degree at the University of Colorado Denver, where I was able to lead the Social Equity Series. While pursuing my Master's Degree, I served as my district's representative in the county and state elections. 

Upon graduating with my Master’s, I got a job at HOPE as the Director of Shelter Services. My journey had come complete circle in only five years. I have established Abracadabra Consulting and work with a local nonprofit, A Way Forward. My goal with my business is to aid local nonprofits on a project basis and concentrate on community engagement. 

With all these accomplishments, I'm still on housing assistance and could continue for life if I managed to make less than the cap for benefits. I now walk along the edge of the metaphorical cliff.

With median housing prices in Boulder County at over $750,000, how can I ever afford to live here on a single person's salary? My future holds two options: I ride out my voucher for life or progress to home ownership. I am ready and willing to go to the next step, but there needs to be a path to get there. 

That path is simple, affordable housing options, and it is with coalitions such as Prosper Longmont that will enable others like me to become homeowners.

Eric Wallace, a founder of Prosper Longmont, stated, “Prosper Longmont was founded because we believe the current policies and decisions impacting affordable and workforce housing are exacerbating the housing crisis in our community, not improving it.”

Without affordable housing, I am forced to leave a community that raised me and where I have been able to give so much back. I want to stay; I want to become a homeowner; I don't want to waste resources that others could benefit from; I want to be self-sufficient with the ability to stay that way into retirement and beyond.

Danielle Holmes