Warren Village Resident Kayce Receives Community Advocate Award

Kayce is a resident at Warren Village, a parent of two, a full-time student working toward his Master’s in Social Work at Metro State University, and an intern at the Colorado Health Network. Last year, he also became a community advocate for people with medical debt. At the age of 19, Kayce underwent surgery for an undiagnosed congenital condition, which left him deeply in debt, devastating his credit score. During the 2023 Regular Session of the Colorado General Assembly, Kayce passionately and courageously testified three times in support of HB23-1126, a bill that prohibits consumer reporting agencies in Colorado from including medical debt in credit reports.

Kayce was one of three recipients of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy 2023 Community Advocates of the Year award. In November, he and his community celebrated at the Communities Against Poverty event, where Kayce accepted his award. Keep scrolling to read the words he shared upon accepting this award.

Kayce celebrated his award with his Warren Village Family Advocate Allison Miller and Mental Health Clinician Catherine Barnes

“As we speak, thousands of Colorado citizens are unhoused due to predatory medical debt and its affects on credit scores. This devastating cycle can feel like trying to build a house out of feathers. You get sick; you are out of work; you can’t afford necessities; and then you get a bill, many like mine, in the 10s of thousands of dollars. In the wake of devastating illness, people are left in anguish over debt they couldn’t possibly afford, so it goes to collections. Your credit score takes a nosedive. Now you can’t get a car, or an apartment, or a loan for an illness or injury that was completely outside of your control.

“For lucky people like me, you rely on family while you desperately attempt to climb out of the hole that medical debt has put you in. Luckily for me, I am not unhoused or living with family today. For the first time in my life, I have my own apartment. It’s all mine. I live in subsidized housing for single parents at risk of becoming unhoused called Warren Village. They teach me skills to effectively live independently, and I am finally in a place to work on building my credit that was devastated due to medical debt.

“I want to thank the Colorado Center on Law and Policy for their tireless work fighting for Coloradans like me. It is an honor to receive this award. I treasured the opportunity to have an impact on the passing of HB23-1126, and it has inspired me to pursue macro social work. So I’ll see you at the Capitol in three years.

“As Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.'”

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