DENVER, CO – Legislation that will boost rental assistance and prevent evictions for Coloradans was signed into law today.
Sponsored by Reps. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and Mandy Lindsay, D-Aurora, and Senators Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, and Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, HB23B-1001 allocates $30 million for rental assistance through the existing Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) administered by the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), increasing the statewide assistance to a total of $65 million, which includes $35 million from previously allocated federal funds.
The program will serve individuals who are residential tenants living in Colorado, have a household income less than 80 percent of Area Median Income and are at risk of eviction or displacement.
“Rental assistance keeps Coloradans housed, landlords paid, and helps combat cycles of poverty, homelessness and family disruption,” said Herod. “Coloradans need help now, and I’m beyond proud of this legislation that will prevent thousands of evictions across our state. This law invests an additional $30 million in emergency rental assistance, bringing the statewide total to $65 million to keep renters housed. We’re doing more to protect our most vulnerable families as we work toward more long-term affordability solutions.”
“The housing crisis is impacting us all, and we must utilize every opportunity to help out hardworking renters," said Gonzales. “We hear Coloradans loud and clear: we love our state, but the rising cost of living and housing is making it hard for working folks to get by — both for homeowners and renters. I am proud to see my bill to direct $30 million in rental assistance to keep Coloradans housed and provide responsible relief to support Coloradans who need it most get signed into law.”
“Everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home, and this law will help thousands of renters avoid eviction and get back on their feet,” said Lindsay. “The need for rental assistance is clear as evictions rise in our state. This law takes action today to provide an additional $30 million total emergency rental assistance, bringing the statewide total to $65 million. More than 34-percent of those living in our state are renters, and this law steps in to provide assistance and keep Coloradans housed in the communities where they live, play and work.”
“Renters in my district are struggling to keep up with the high cost of living and continual rent increases,” Buckner said. “Allocating additional funding for proven successful rental assistance programs means more Coloradans will stay housed. While we continue to work on long term solutions to lower housing costs and reduce evictions, this is a critical way we can get immediate relief directly to the families that need it most.”
Evictions are on the rise in Colorado. This year alone, 43,899 evictions have been filed according to state courts and Denver County court filing data, threatening the housing of more than 100,000 people across the state.
Under ERAP, tenants who apply through DOLA are then connected to a nonprofit partner within their area that can provide direct assistance. Rental assistance dollars may be used to pay for: overdue past rent, rent presently owed, up to two months of future rent, utility bills, late fees, costs associated with preventing an eviction such as court costs and reasonable attorney fees, and relocation costs like security deposits if a tenant has already been evicted.