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Experience sees Denver resident advocate for accessibility as a mayoral policy

Laurie-Ann Mills is a community leader with an anti-hunger nonprofit. She's a disabled Denver resident who lives on a fixed income, and she's not running for mayor.

DENVER — Laurie-Ann Mills isn't running for mayor, but personal experience and advocacy work have inspired policy suggestions she hopes the next one will implement.

Mills is a community leader with Metro Caring, an anti-hunger nonprofit. She's also a disabled Denver resident who lives on a fixed income. Mills shares an apartment with her adult son and says she can't afford to live on her own.  

"I've worked my whole life. You know, I've paid my taxes...I do all the stuff you're supposed to do," she said. "But every day I wake up scared I'm gonna get a note on the door, because I'm currently behind rent right now. Because I got COVID and the little side jobs I did have, I couldn't work for a couple months."

Mills said her situation is isolating - because of this, she wants the next mayor to focus on providing a safety net for people like her, struggling with rising rent.

"[I] would ask them what their stance on the movement to ban to repeal the ban on rent stabilization in Colorado," she said of the mayoral candidates. "These increases impact like heavily your food and, and housing security. And when you're capped on your income and your savings like we are, it's really a struggle, and it makes us vulnerable to homelessness."

Denver would need a state ban repealed if it were to act on rent stabilization. For those with capped income, and in turn capped savings, facing rising rent, Mills said it's forced poverty.

She compared her current balancing act to standing in a hammock.

"All somebody has to do is try that hammock and take it with me and everything falls. Without a solid foundation, you can't build personal wealth, build personal wealth, you can't build community wealth. You can't be a part of the local economy," she said.

Mills also had a policy suggestion: "It's hard to do anything when you can't have any extra income. I would find a way to, at least to get the data, sponsor 100 families in Denver with the UBI for a year. I would love to see the data. You report back to me every month and tell me how what you use that money towards, how that affected going you forward. And this is no strings attached."

If you live in Denver and you're not running for mayor, tell us what you'd like to see from the candidates or questions you'd ask them. Email next@9news.com or use the #HeyNext on social media.

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