Silas Atkins is a paraeducator at Manhattan Middle School and member of the task force advising the City of Boulder on the creation of a guaranteed income program. He is a single father of two children, rents a home, and has a cat named Peanut.
Endorsements: Boulder Area Labor Council (AFL-CIO, Bedrooms Are For People, and Communications Workers of America
Answers to questionnaire:
What do you think are the most promising initiatives for reducing homelessness?
Housing is at the core of my campaign, which is centered around meeting people’s basic needs. We do that by using safe outdoor spaces (tents and parking areas with bathrooms, trash service, counseling, etc.), day shelters, overnight shelters, hotels, vacant office/commercial space, sober supportive housing, transitional housing, building more housing of all types in areas with services, and expanding long term affordability through permanently affordable housing and more market rate and luxury housing stock.
We are in a climate emergency. With your leadership, how would Boulder change commensurately?
I have touched on this in my previous answers around dense housing near services, and additionally we need to invest in multi-modal transportation. When bikes, pedestrians and buses have dedicated space, it allows more people to get out of their cars and reduce emissions. We also need to reduce asphalt and concrete surfaces that create heat islands and we need to turn parking lots into housing.
How can we better provide alternatives to cars when existing infrastructure prioritizes cars?
We need to stop prioritizing cars. All modes of transportation should be treated equally providing safe routes to where we need to go. Safer infrastructure can reduce car crashes by up to 66% in one study, and non-car transportation reduces emissions as well as the need for costly car only infrastructure construction and maintenance.
What is your plan for increasing Boulder’s affordable housing supply?
In the short term, we need to build more housing and a variety of housing in transit rich corridors that have city services already available, which keeps costs down, meets climate goals with reduced emissions from sprawl, as well as maximizing existing resources, and let’s people spend more time in the community. Long term, we need to designate more housing as permanently affordable and use strategies like a public financial institution to fund them.
What approach would you take to address camping in our parks, on our bike paths and along our waterways?
Give people a place to go, which needs to be housing first with supportive services. Moving people around is harmful, costly, and does not solve anything. Everyone is welcome to and deserving of housing and everything comes back to people. We need our basic needs met, and when they are, we are more productive and engaged members of our community. When those of us that are struggling succeed, it benefits everyone long term and we all win. As was shown during the King Soopers shooting, the people that we see in the grocery store every day impact our lives as we impact theirs. Don’t you want the person who serves you lunch, teaches your children, responds to medical emergencies, and provides city services to live in your neighborhood so we all get more from our time together?
Assume you are elected this November. Now imagine it’s November one year later. What one, specific thing will you have accomplished that you’re proud of? Put another way, what will define success for you after one year on council, or as mayor?
Success is defined for all of us by making people’s lives better. An example of this was the approval of Ordinance 8585, increasing occupancy of unrelated people to five. That will reduce anxiety, provide housing stability and tenant rights, and help us be an inclusive place. The more we lift us all up, the more successful we are as a community, and the more we all benefit.