In this issue: Message from DOLA Leadership & Strategic Housing Working Group Updates
Message from Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Leadership to Employees & Partners
The COVID-19 events of the recent months and now the public unrest and protests which have ignited just outside of our building at 1313 Sherman Street have left many of us shaken, bewildered and frankly wondering about if we will ever return to a sense of personal safety and stability.
We reach out today because we feel a sense of responsibility and recognize there's a need among DOLA employees and partners searching for hope and solidarity as public servants and entities who strive daily to strengthen communities. As we all know, the tensions that surround race and social inequities have reached a heightened stage in America today as demonstrated by the spontaneous protests that have gripped our state and many cities. The death of George Floyd while being restrained by law enforcement officers in Minneapolis and similar police related, Black citizen deaths over the years have left many of us upset, confused, scared or angry. Whatever your emotions may be, we want to acknowledge your feelings.
There is no question that we are all "crisis-drained," we are tired because for the last three months nothing has been normal for anyone. Insecurity runs rampant and confusion just fuels conversations of discomfort. Pain is the pedestal for inequitable treatment of the African American community, all while trying to fight a world facing a public health pandemic that no one knows when it will end. You are tired, we are tired. However, we ask that DOLA employees and partners stand together in solidarity to support each other during these challenging times. After all strengthening communities is what we at DOLA stand for.
DOLA has an unique role, as we listen to the voices of the state's diverse communities, we devise creative responses, solutions and lead in addressing the social and economic inequities which sometimes go unheard. Each of us has a unique role representing DOLA's responses to the diverse voices of Colorado.
Wherever your personal feelings are at this moment in time, please know that we support you and stand together. We want you to speak up when you see inequities in our work. We want you to be heard. We want to hear from you. We must re-examine and seek equality in our programs, especially in these times of civil strife and struggle. Although our hearts are heavy, we are dedicated to building a stronger, more resilient place for all Coloradans to flourish.
Finally, we stand in solidarity against the violence and senseless property destruction that we have seen. We stand arm in arm against racism and hate and, but most importantly we support humanity, peace and equality. We can leverage our voices through the partnerships we have built in Colorado. We represent what Colorado stands for which is fair and equitable treatment of all.
Take care of one another, check on your colleagues and check in with yourself. These times create tension for us all and conversation right now is the definition of necessity. We are hopeful and we remain committed to building a better future for those to come so they do not have to experience unjust treatment, ever. We are unique, we are powerful, we are DOLA.
- Rick Garcia and Natriece Bryant
Strategic Housing Workgroup Updates
While the economic circumstances in Colorado and across the globe have changed significantly since the Strategic Housing Working Group was proposed, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs' Division of Housing (DOH) is eager to select working group members and start working.
DOH anticipates quarterly meetings starting in Fall 2020, with the first several meetings dedicated to examining the economic impacts of COVID-19 on affordable housing and developing strategies to address the recovery effort as well as meet Colorado’s long-term housing needs.
Applications to become a member of the Strategic Housing Working Group are being accepted through June 19, 2020.