Application window closing for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, Denver

Application window closing for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, Denver

Denver has stopped accepting new applications for emergency rental assistance program Friday at 11:59 p.m., as federal funds allocated to help struggling renters in the city and state ran out.

Applications received before that deadline are still being processed and households already approved for support will not see those payments suddenly stopped. But the cutoff was necessary as the city “worked to use remaining federal resources in a manner that benefits the greatest number of families,” according to a news release from the Department of Housing.

The leader of a nonprofit organization that has helped distribute millions of dollars in aid payments to struggling renters in Denver and throughout Colorado over the past few years hopes closer-to-home funding will keep people in stable housing. sources can be found. its effects proposition 123The dedicated affordable housing funding mechanism, recently passed in the state, could be realized next year.

“I think we really need state and local investment to bridge these programs,” said Zach Neumann, co-founder and CEO Community Economic Defense Project,

Dating through 2021, more than $130 million in federal aid has been distributed to more than 13,700 Denver families through the program commonly referred to as ERAP, according to city officials. Funds distributed by city and state contractors, including the Community Economic Defense Project, are available to cover utility bills and housing stability services, along with rent payments through April 2020.

On November 1, the Denver Department of Housing Stability, or HOST, began closing the local ERAP program, accepting only new, first-time applications from that date. But those applications will not be accepted even after Friday, said officials of the housing department.

“HOST has received a significant increase in the amount of applications submitted in recent weeks,” the city said in a news release earlier this month. “After further analysis and discussion with the state, it has been determined that Denver ERAP needs to stop accepting new applications and limit the number of months of assistance that can be received.”

Between Nov. 1 and Friday afternoon, the city has filed 1,112 new, first-time applications for ERAP, according to Department of Housing spokeswoman Sabrina Ely.

Alley said the city is now capping the length of aid, with qualified applicants able to tap into 18 months of support.

As of mid-October, more than 34,000 families in Colorado had received at least some emergency rental assistance since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Roughly $290 million was given to the state and millions more from local governments like Denver, provided through the federal coronavirus relief fund and american rescue plan act,

The US Treasury Department said of the program, “COVID-19 has exacerbated an affordable housing crisis that preceded the pandemic and deepening inequalities that threaten the strength of the economic recovery.” on its website,

But funding is limited and Denver is hitting the bottom of its allotment. According to city figures, of the $38 million the city was given to spend, Denver only has $7.5 million left. Of that, $6 million has been set aside for rental assistance.

These federal programs end when city evictions have returned to pre-pandemic levels. There were 982 eviction cases filed in Denver in October, the first time since January 2020 that the number topped 900, according to Denver County Court staff data. Through November, 7,288 eviction cases have been brought in the city, compared to 4,894 last year and 3,912 in 2020. state and federal moratoriums Protected tenants from losing their housing.

Newman’s organization was one of the state’s largest rental assistance contractors, processing nearly $100 million in payments and serving more than 31,000 households. Formerly named the COVID-19 Evasion Defense Project, the nonprofit changed its name this month to the Community Economic Defense Project as it expands its model to focus on other issues like foreclosure. hunter towing practice even more.

“Stability payments are the most powerful tool we have for preventing evictions. Period. Full stop,” Newman said of ERAP’s value. “Usually, when you can pay your rent, and get current in your account, that’s a hedge. You paid.”

Denver initiates Ordinance 305 Newman said the November loss, the only city ballot measure to be defeated in the 2022 election, also hurt renters’ ability to stay in their homes. The measure would have created a tax for landlords to pay for eviction legal defense services. With opponents having huge fundraising gains, the 305 was Rejected by 57.5% of Denver voters,

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