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Denver offers to help with rent, utilities during a housing crisis

Author: Adam McCoy - November 2, 2017 - Updated: November 2, 2017

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(iStock image / twinsterphoto)

Rent going up or experiencing job troubles? With the cost of living soaring in Denver, the city has launched a pilot program this week to aid residents with rent and utilities costs during a housing crisis.

The Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program (TRUA) and the annual Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) started accepting applications Wednesday.

Denver households experiencing a “current financial or other housing crisis,” including a rent increase, uninhabitable living conditions evidenced through a public health violation, a past-due notice or loss of a job might be eligible for up to six months of rent assistance and up to $1,000 in utility payments, the city said. Households can earn up to 80 percent of area median income — $47,000 annually for an individual or $67,100 annually for a family of four.

“We have heard loud and clear from Denver households that too often it is unforeseen circumstances or increased costs that can lead to a housing crisis,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “These tools are meant to provide temporary relief for people in a pinch to ensure that Denver residents can remain in their homes, and that we keep Denver affordable for all our people.”

Furthermore, LEAP helps low-income residents with their winter heating bill. Households earning up to 165 percent of the federal poverty index — $19,896 annually for an individual or $40,092 annually for a family of four — can take advantage of the program, which pays a portion of their heating costs. Some 8,309 Denver households received financial help with their utility bills last winter thanks to LEAP.

LEAP will accept applications through April 30, 2018.

Denverites can use the city’s 311 help line to inquire about TRUA or call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (432-8435), or visit www.denvergov.org/LEAP for LEAP information.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.