Denver will receive nearly $22 million from the federal government to help low-income residents pay their rent and utility bills during the pandemic, which is approaching its 11th month.
City officials said in a news release that the money comes from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program and will coincide with Denver’s current efforts to help residents pay their bills. The city did not immediately respond to questions seeking additional details.
The vast majority of the $22 million can be used for rent, utilities, home-energy costs, back rent and related expenses, the release said, and up to $2.2 million is available for the city to put toward administrative costs, case management and other services.
Denver’s existing Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance program — alongside other programs funded by federal CARES Act money — served more than 2,100 households between March and December 2020, the release said.
Julie Smith, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Finance, said Denver has received $126.8 million through the CARES Act. About $5.5 million of that federal money went to rental and utility assistance, Department of Housing Stability spokesman Derek Woodbury said, and nearly $5 million had been spent through December.
The U.S. Department of Treasury is narrowing requirements for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and city officials say they’re exploring how best to use the money. But it will go to individuals and families who earn up to 80% of the area’s modern income, the release said — an annual income of up to $54,950 for a single person or up to $78,500 for a family of four.
Eligible residents must also have at least one person in the home who either qualifies for unemployment or whose pay was reduced by the pandemic, the release said, as well as demonstrating a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
Those who have been unemployed for 90 days before applying or households with incomes at or below 50% of the area’s median income will be prioritized, the release said.
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