AG Office Expanding Funds for Rural Housing, Trade Programs for Southern Colorado

Prairie Sentry


Feb. 3, 2023 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that his office is expanding its rural housing revitalization grant to support a new trades program at Pueblo Corporate College, a division of Pueblo Community College, and expanded programs at Trinidad State College and Lamar Community College.

Communities in southern Colorado have long faced challenges with blighted housing and shortages on available housing stock. This housing shortage is partially due to the age of houses and the lack of appropriately trained labor in the area to renovate the old and dilapidated homes.

To address this housing challenge, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office launched a $5 million grant program, the Colorado Partnership for Education and Rural Revitalization (COPERR), in 2020 to both revitalize rural housing and support construction training programs at community colleges in southeastern Colorado.

The initial grant helped Trinidad and Lamar colleges launch their programs, and the additional grants will support them as they expand the COPERR programming in their communities. Pueblo Corporate College is new to the COPERR program and will use its grant to launch new curriculum in construction skills training and partner with local non-profit organizations to provide students with on‑the-job training at local housing construction sites.

“As we witnessed in the first years of this grant program, colleges in southern Colorado successfully developed additional programming to train students for the workforce and renovate dilapidated homes in their communities,” Weiser said. “The expansion of this grant will support them as they continue to reinvigorate housing options and support students learning a construction trade that meets compelling workforce needs in their communities.”

Lamar Community College (LCC) will receive additional grant funding to expand its programming to include high school students at two remote high school locations located in the northern and southern parts of LCC’s service area. LCC will use two mobile classroom trailers to work directly with high schools in each region, with the goal of either creating a pipeline for students into college or the ability to seek employment utilizing the knowledge they gain through COPERR courses. LCC anticipates completing six renovation projects with at least three renovations outside the city of Lamar, but within LCC’s service area. As of December 2022, the total grant amount for the college is $1.46 million.

“From the very beginning of this outstanding project, the attorney general and his team have recognized the importance of rural colleges working to solve rural problems, like substandard housing,” said retiring LCC president, Dr. Linda Lujan. “LCC is so appreciative of the funding, support, and trust placed in us through this grant and is excited to expand opportunities to other areas of Southeast Colorado as the college engages high school students in more remote areas in the construction trades program. It’s a win for students, communities, the college, and Colorado.”

The COPERR program is funded through money the state received from the national mortgage settlement, a settlement reached in 2012 after 49 states sued mortgage servicers after the 2008 financial crisis. Before the launch of this program, none of the funds obtained in this 2012 settlement were used in Southeastern Colorado.

Filed Under: City of LamarCountyEducationFeaturedHousingMedia Release


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