By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – The City of Denver will get nearly $22 million in federal funds to help renters impacted by coronavirus. This comes after months of hearing from CBS4 viewers who have been struggling to make ends meet.

“I was at a point where I was about 4 1/2 months behind,” one woman told CBS4 as the eviction moratorium was set to expire.

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(credit: CBS)

Another man in October detailed his financial struggles.

“You just get behind, and then even when you do get money it just gets frustrating,” he said.

According to a release form the City of Denver, launched by the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program makes available financial assistance to families that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to COVID-19.

Britta Fisher, the Executive Director for the Department of Housing and Stability in Denver, says the scale of the need seen in Denver demands federal partnership.

“We are seeing a whole new group of folks feeling the economic pinch and that often results in a housing crisis,” she said.

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(credit: CBS)

Much of the nearly $22 million from the federal government, she says, will go directly to those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

“With these federal dollars, they specifically need to demonstrate that they have a COVID-related impact to their income or unemployment,” Fisher said.

Based on the help they were able to deliver over the course of the last year using local funds and a little more than $5 million in CARES Act money, she knows this will significantly extend their reach in the community.

“We actually served 2,332 households here in Denver just from March. With these dollars we will be able to serve more households and alleviate some of the impacts of the coronavirus and what it has done in our housing system,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

Renters must meet several requirements:

  • Earn up to $54,950 for a single-person household, or up to $78,500 for a family of four
  • At least one household member qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Households must also demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

The city says they will give priority to eligible households that include an individual who has been unemployed for the 90 days before applying and households with income at or below 50% of the area median income (up to $35,950 for a single-person household, or up to $50,000 for a household of four).

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Those interested in applying should call 311 and select option 6. They will be asked to provide information like their address, proof of income, residency, rent/mortgage or utilities as well as information about how COVID-19 caused their housing crisis.

Karen Morfitt