Aurora, Colorado To Use Marijuana Tax Money To Help The Homeless In These Ways

Aurora, Colorado will use $1.5 million dollars generated from a tax on recreational marijuana to help the city’s homeless population, and the city has now designated which groups will receive the funds raised from the city’s recreational marijuana sales. The Aurora city council members announced how the funds will be allocated.

Council members have allocated $200,000 to the Colfax Community Network, a nonprofit organization that supports families living in motels, which has been struggling to provide assistance due to dwindling funds. The city council says that they will evaluate the Network’s progress before committing to renewing the group as a recipient of the recreational marijuana tax revenue allocation for longer than one year, Huffington Post reported.

Additionally, two other groups that assist the area homeless have been granted vans that will be used to help the homeless. Comitis Crisis Center and Aurora Mental Health will both receive new vans that could cost up to $44,000 each.

Besides for the one and one-half million dollars to assist the homeless people in Aurora, the city council has agreed to designate another $680,000 in marijuana tax dollars to area nonprofit organizations and two million dollars to build a new recreation center for the city’s residents.

“We wanted to be able to show citizens that we are having a positive impact on the community and point to specific projects or initiatives to where that money is going to,” Bob Roth, city councilman, said according to Huffington Post.

Aurora expects $4.5 million from marijuana sales taxes in the next two years.

“The Colfax Community Network is in extremely dire straits in that they do not have funds to continue operating,” said Nancy Sheffield, director of Aurora neighborhood services, told Aurora Sentinel. The Colfax Community Network gives homeless people who are temporarily residing in Aurora’s motels food, clothing, hygiene products and diapers.

“I believe there’s a value to it beyond just what it does,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said of the Colfax Community Network, which was founded in 1999. “That value is that it’s an organization that’s been around for years. Organizations that have been around for years tend to catch the eye of funding foundations. The problem with Colfax Community Network is, in my view, there were a lot of well-intentioned people who had no idea how to go out and get money. That’s why they’re in trouble now. Saving it makes sense to me.”

Tax revenue from the sales of marijuana is expected to more than double this next year in Aurora, because more cultivation facilities and retail shops are supposed to be opening up to meet demand. For all of 2016, the projected revenue from recreational marijuana sales is expected to be well over $5 million, the Denver Post reported. A total of six more stores are expected to open in Aurora, Colorado’s third largest city.

“We wanted to be able to show citizens that we are having a positive impact on the community and point to specific projects or initiatives to where that money is going to,” Aurora City Councilman Bob Roth, chairman of the city’s recreational marijuana committee, said. In 2017, the city committee anticipates well over $6 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana once Aurora reaches the maximum number of pot shops that are permitted at this time.

[Image via Pixabay]