Emergency Rental Assistance funds are running out, but need isn’t

The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project says the need persists because wages aren’t keeping up with the rising cost of housing.

COLORADO, USA — States received historic amounts of federal money to help with the COVID-19 crisis, and a lot of that funding will run out this fall, like the money for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Coloradans can still apply, but come September 30 that money will be gone.

“Emergency Rental Assistance has been a towering success, it’s a fantastic program,” Zach Neuman, the Executive Director of the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, said.

Neuman sings the praises of a program that’s about to go away, even though he says the 1,000 people his organization helps to keep housed each month still need it.

“I think what’s scary is the fact that in a number of months these federally funded resources are going to be all used up,” Neuman said. “And so we’re going to be in a world where the federal dollars that have sustained renters for two years in Colorado are suddenly no longer available.”

Neuman said the problem has changed from people getting laid off due to COVID-19 to people working full time jobs and still not being able to afford rent.

In an email addressing the amount of people still applying for assistance, The Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing wrote “during the month of July 2022, we saw new applications remain steady with 3,747 applications submitted, very similar to previous months.”

DOLA’s Division of housing included qualifications for tenants to receive emergency rental assistance:

● The household is under 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI); and

● The household is a resident of Colorado; and

● The household has experienced a negative financial impact during the COVID-19 Pandemic, or is at risk of housing instability and/or homelessness

“When that federal funding ends I think there’s a real question regarding what happens to folks in Colorado who can’t quite make that rental payment, who are 200 dollars short, 300 dollars short,” Neuman said. “Do we have a mechanism to keep them in their homes? Or are we going to go back to the old bad way of doing things?”

Congress has not approved any additional rounds of funding for Emergency Rental Assistance. Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs said after September 30 they will continue with eviction diversion efforts.

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