City, County of Denver to receive about $22M in federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds

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DENVER — Denver will receive almost $22 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance funds from the US. Department of Treasury to help local families unable to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic.

This new program compliments Denver’s Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance program, which is already in place and locally funded, and a similar federal program put in place in 2020 to offer relief funds. These two programs alone served more than 2,100 Denver households from March to December 2020.

Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST) will administer the Emergency Rental Assistance program, though the U.S. Department of Treasury is still working on requirements for the program and the City of Denver is “reviewing program guidelines, potential partnerships and determining the next steps for deploying funds into the community,” according to the city.

This new program will be available to all renting individuals and families who are earning up to 80% of the area median income — up to $54,950 for a single-person household or up to $78,500 for a family of four. To qualify for the program, at least one person must qualify for unemployment, have a reduced income, incurred significant costs or experienced a financial hardship due to the pandemic. They must also show how they are at risk of homelessness or housing instability.

Of the $22 million, up to 90% can be used for rent, utilities and home energy costs, back rent, utilities and home energy costs, and other expenses related to housing, and up to 10% can be used for administrative costs and housing stability services.

Denver residents seeking rental and utility assistance can call 311 and select option 6. All callers will be asked a few questions, including to provide household income, proof of residency, proof of rent/mortgage/utilities due and how COVID-19 has impacted their housing situation.