Metropolis council proposal would prolong emergency help contracts for Denver rental | authorities
The Denver City Council’s Housing Committee on Wednesday approved several contracts to expand services for the rental housing emergency program and submitted the proposal to the full council for final vote in the coming weeks.
The committee’s approval comes as the state eviction moratorium expires on Saturday, preventing renters from paying rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic who are prone to eviction.
“A letter was recently sent to the governor asking him to implement an executive order that would allow an application for rent allowance as a defense against eviction,” said Melissa Thate of the Department of Housing Stability.
Denver’s Rental Support Program is using $ 21.88 million in federal funds from the Treasury Department to help pay rent and utilities for residents unable to make payments due to the pandemic. The funds, which can provide assistance for up to 15 months, will expire on September 30, 2022.
Program recipients must qualify for unemployment, have lower income, or face increased financial hardship related to the pandemic. They must also be at risk of residential instability and have a household income less than 80% of the median income for the area, which according to city data is $ 70,000 for one person.
Wednesday’s proposal would add $ 7 million and extend the end dates of two contracts for companies managing the rental assistance program. It would also approve three new contracts totaling $ 10.68 million using federal funds.
“I’m thrilled to see larger numbers come through given the need,” said Councilor Amanda Sawyer in support of the proposal.
If approved, contracts with Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. and Northeast Denver Housing Center, Inc. would be increased by $ 3 million and $ 4 million, respectively, and the contract term extended by nine months, with a new ending date of September 30, 2022.
Thate said the contract extensions would allow companies to manage the rental support program for 995 households. . Both contracts expire on December 31, 2021.
The new contracts would provide $ 3.5 million to the Jewish Family Service of Colorado, Inc., the Salvation Army $ 3 million, and the community company $ 4.17 million to support the program until it expires administer. Those contracts would serve a total of 903 households, Thate said.
The committee approved the proposal for the five contracts unanimously, but Councilor Kevin Flynn questioned giving so much money to the community firm, which has only been in business for just over a year.
“Based on existing contracts with the state housing authority and the additional contract they are working on with another location, we believe they will be able to meet and likely exceed the spending of these funds,” Thate said in response .
Thate added that the department hired two new employees in June to focus on the rental assistance program only. The department is also working to increase public awareness of the program through outreach and engagement and to expand direct payments to tenants when landlords fail to respond to the program, she said.
Denver residents can apply for the Rental Assistance Program at cdola.colorado.gov/rental-mortgage-assistance or by calling 1-888-480-0066.