Understanding the economic challenges Coloradans face and identifying solutions

While Colorado is known for a robust and growing economy, the harsh reality of many Coloradans experiencing poverty isn’t always reflected in headlines. Research and policy analysis shed a light on issues that affect the health, well-being and economic security of Coloradans.

How we conduct this work

CCLP works in partnership with the advocacy community, research community, and government agencies to provide the data and analysis that support meaningful policy change.

For example, in 2017 CCLP partnered with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless in reviewing eviction cases in Denver County Court. The findings of the report, entitled Facing Eviction Alone, suggested that most evictions could be avoided if tenants were represented by an attorney. The report received wide press coverage and prompted the city of Denver to establish its first-ever eviction defense fund. The study may have been the impetus for the approval of Senate Bill 180, which CCLP developed in the 2019 legislative session. The bill established a $750,000 legal defense fund to help Coloradans facing eviction.

In late 2019, after alarms were raised by community partners who saw increased numbers of uninsured patients, we published an analysis examining data on federal and state factors contributing to an 8 percent decline in Medicaid and CHP+ enrollment. Our report triggered a discussion among officials and stakeholders that will hopefully result in adjustments to state policy, keep more eligible Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid, and protect the state from punitive federal action.

We are a trusted resource for media coverage on how the Colorado economy is performing for people across the income spectrum. CCLP’s research and analysis portfolio includes  The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Colorado, a comprehensive measure of how much income families of various sizes and compositions need to make ends meet without public or private assistance. CCLP also releases the State of Working Colorado, a compendium of data that shows how Colorado’s economy is performing for workers across the income spectrum, among numerous reports and issue briefs.

Along with traditional reports and analysis, we are an innovator in producing online reports. CCLP partnered with Hunger Free Colorado to develop the Human Services Gap Map, an online report that provides a window into how effectively Colorado is delivering the basic building blocks needed for lifelong health and well-being by presenting county-by-county comparisons of enrollment, allocations and costs for human service programs. Through a grant from The Colorado Trust’s Health Equity Cohort, we produced Vital Signs, an examination of the influence of race, place and income on Colorado’s health.

Much of our research is made possible through a generous donation from Donald W. and Lynn K. Burnes, whose gift created The Burnes Institute for Poverty Research at CCLP. This partnership supports CCLP’s current research and ensures that the organizations legislative and legal advocacy work is evidence-based, while advancing a racial-equity and anti-poverty agenda.