Low Cannabis Sales Tax Revenue to Hurt Aurora, Colorado Homeless

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Low cannabis sales may hurt Aurora homeless services.

In Aurora, Colorado, a portion of their cannabis sales tax has been set aside to be used to fund homeless services (1). Low cannabis sales are likely to affect homelessness programs. The city of Aurora reported that cannabis funds meant to be utilized for the homeless were supposed to be $3.9 million for 2023 but sharply fell to $1.4 million for 2024 (1). In the beginning of the year, the city accepted grant applications for programs that helped city residents that did not have a home. Aurora collected 25 grant applications which tallied up to $5,297,630. Unfortunately, the city only has an availability of $1,953,088 (1).

Reported on CBS News (1), 75% of the Mile High Behavioral Healthcare’s (MHBHC) funding is from Aurora, according to Anna Miller. The organization provides housing and food support services to thousands of residents in the Denver Metro area via the Aurora Day Resource Center and the Comitis Crisis Center (1).

“Food is one big thing that we're being told won't be covered. Another is our street outreach team. They go throughout the city of Aurora to encampments, and help folks with basic human needs like water, food, and clothing,” Miller expressed (1).


MHBHC received nearly $2.4 million in city funds but are expected to receive only $963,000 in 2024 (1). This unexpected short come in funds will likely mean that their homelessness services will be impacted meaning that the organization may not be able to assist as many residents as previous years and could also affect staffing within the association.

"The city is trying to lessen encampments. But with a reduction in services, it's going to increase encampments because folks won't have anywhere to go," said Miller (1).

One of those city residents is Amber Dake-McGurik who benefits from services provided by the Comitis Crisis Center (1). “If we have no funding, it's not just single people outside in the cold. It's families outside," said Drake-McGurik to CBS News (1). "If you take away this place, you take away our comfort, shelter, our safety.”

City council members are investigating other ways to help assist the homeless population in Aurora. "We are prioritizing emergency services and lifesaving services for funding this year, things that are getting people out of the cold weather as much as possible. We are funding those at the highest levels," said Emma Knight, Aurora's manager of Homeless Programs (1). Knight added (1), “We are encouraging agencies to apply elsewhere as much as possible. We're always happy to provide letters of support and we've done that with several agencies already.”

At a recent council meeting in November 2023, council members were looking to put off the decision on funding until sometime in 2024. However, this will likely cause homeless shelters more hardships and challenges on how they can help the homeless population (1).


  1. Mason, T. Shortfall in Marijuana Sales Tax Revenue in Colorado will Impact Aurora Homeless (accessed Nov 27, 2023).