By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colo.) Denver ended its sales tax on diapers Monday, created a youth empowerment center, and invested almost $2 million in families.
By ending its diaper tax, Denver will lose between $500,000 and $800,000 per year. The tax break also applies to adult incontinence supplies. Council members Amanda Sawyer and Jolon Clark worked together to sponsor the bill.
The Colorado legislature passed a law in 2022 exempting menstrual products and diapers from state sales tax. Cities must enact exemptions if they want to end city sales tax. Denver already exempts menstrual products from city sales tax, a measure led by Clark in 2019.
Aurora ended its tax on diapers earlier this year. According to Baby2Baby, a nationwide group advocating for an end to diaper taxes, 33 states tax diapers. Rates range from 1.5 to 7 percent.
Empowering youth with resources
The council also approved a five-year, non-financial contract for LifeLine to operate a Youth Empowerment Center at 1240 W. Bayaud. "A Youth Empowerment Center will include services for families and/or caregivers with the bulk of available services intended to serve youth between the ages of 12 and 24," city staff explained in a presentation to the Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee.
"Youth Empowerment Centers are considered a best practice and have been implemented by other cities as a youth violence prevention strategy addressing multiple risk factors at nearly every level of the social ecological framework."
The city purchased the building with federal Community Development Block Grant funds. According to the presentation, the Youth Empowerment Center would:
· Engage youth in the design and implementation of services via a youth advisory council.
· Provide workforce readiness programs.
· Provide educational support.
· Provide culturally relevant art, music, dance, and cooking programs.
· Provide computer programs.
· Engage youth leadership groups, and work with other community-based organizations to bring authentic youth voices into the process.
· Demonstrate meaningful partnerships with city agencies, community organizations, and other entities to bring quality programs to the youth and community.
· Align programming with CCD's youth violence prevention strategies.
· Design and deliver trauma-informed programs and work to provide or assist with access to mental health services.
City awards grants to strengthen families
The city also made investments Monday in non-profits to strengthen families.
The contracts will support:
· Thriving Families: $157,090, early intervention supports for new moms.
· Maple Star Colorado: $189,000 to provide face-to-face contact visits for children in out-of-home care. The visits will ensure the safety and well-being of the children.
· Colorado Women's Employment and Education: $1.035 million, intensive services with personal and family stabilization, case management and skills development. Clients would learn about managing emotions/emotional intelligence, adaptability/flexibility, communication and people skills, time management, organization, task Initiation/self-motivation, persistence, dependability/accountability, and stress tolerance.
· Family Tree: $345,000, support stability and permanency of children in child-only Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)/kinship care to divert children from the foster care system.