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Newly-approved Denver budget includes $29 million for emergency rental assistance

Court data shows more than 10,000 eviction filings this year in Denver, a record
denver leaders and community members gather to celebrate emergency rental assistance investment.jpg
Posted at 6:12 PM, Nov 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-14 20:12:00-05

DENVER — Denver's newly-approved budget includes $29.1 million in emergency rental assistance to help more people stay in their homes. It comes just days after the city broke a record for the number of eviction cases filed in a single year.

Denver leaders gathered with community members Tuesday on the steps of the Denver City and County Building to celebrate the city's investment, and to call on state leaders to do more.

For Denver resident Kit Blume, being able to pay the rent each month is a constant worry.

“It's extremely stressful,” Blume said. “I've had more than one eviction notice, and I've been able to just scrape up enough money to keep myself housed. So it's been very close several times.”

Downtown Denver


Denver City Council unanimously passes $1.7 billion budget for 2024

Rob Harris
10:19 PM, Nov 13, 2023

Blume is hardly alone. Thousands of people across Denver are struggling to keep up with rising rents.

So far this year, there have been 10,849 eviction filings, according to the latest data from Denver County Court. In October alone, there were more than 1,600 eviction filings.

The previous record was set in 2010 with 10,241 eviction filings.

“It is absolutely a crisis. Regardless of your personal feelings on it, the numbers don't lie,” said Elina Rodriguez with the Community Economic Defense Project.

Those numbers are why a coalition of community organizations, led by Coloradans for the Common Good, joined with tenants earlier this year to urge Denver’s mayoral candidates to commit to helping tenants.

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Local News

Denver to provide $29M in rental assistance after mayor, Council reach agreement

Óscar Contreras
5:27 PM, Nov 06, 2023

With federal pandemic funding drying up, it wasn’t an easy task, but tenants and community organizers kept pushing city leaders.

Mayor Mike Johnston initially proposed roughly $12 million in emergency rental assistance in next year’s budget. Tenants, community organizers and city council requested he add more.

Johnston responded by adding roughly $3 million, bringing the total to $15 million, which was still half of what organizations were asking for. Finally, the mayor and council reached an agreement.

Johnston joined council members, community leaders, and tenants Tuesday to celebrate the $29.1 million allocated to emergency rental assistance in the city's 2024 budget.

“This is a critically important step because it is the right moral thing for the city to do, and it's the right financial thing for the city to do,” said Johnston.

Council members and the mayor said they were able to come up with the money after searching deep within the city’s $1.7 billion budget, looking for funds with leftover money and areas where they could make small cuts, as they did with the services and supplies budgets.

“We spent a huge amount of time talking to every member of the council and the mayor's budget team, trying to figure out how we could do this without touching our city reserves because we're going to need those,” said Councilwoman Sarah Parady.

eviction notice


Denver mayor, city council members at odds over emergency rental assistance

Brandon Richard
5:53 PM, Oct 30, 2023

Though they’re proud of the city’s investment, council members said it will only help about 6,000 households — half of what’s needed.

“Look, Denver has made the investment for our community members,” said Councilwoman Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez. “We need the state to follow suit.”

Denver City Council wants Governor Jared Polis and state lawmakers to provide more funding for rental assistance during the upcoming special session.

Conor Cahill, press secretary for Polis, said the governor is committed to helping Coloradans stay in their homes.

"Governor Polis included $30 million in his budget proposal that would be dedicated to rental assistance to help people stay in their homes and understands that housing cost is top of mind for Coloradans of all walks of life,” said Cahill. “Governor Polis shares this concern and is committed to ensuring that there is housing, for rent or purchase, available for all budgets."

Rodriguez said the state should provide more than the city has.

“I think we can all agree that the minimum the state legislature can do is exceed what the city has done. It is a much larger entity. At a minimum, they should not be making the same $30 million investment,” said Rodriguez. “We are hopeful that they could double or, at the minimum, just meet, match, and exceed the [$29.1 million] that the city has smartly and compassionately allocated.”

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