Affordable housingHot Sheet

Denver wants to extend its housing-crisis help program

Author: Adam McCoy - May 15, 2018 - Updated: May 15, 2018

High density housing in downtown Denver. (Photo by EntropyWorkshop, iStock)

In the midst of its soaring cost of living, Denver could extend an assistance program it says has helped hundreds of Denverites experiencing a housing crisis.

Denver launched the Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program (TRUA) last fall and says after a pilot period — Nov. 1, 2017 to early March 2018 — the program has exceeded expectations, aiding 486 households with rent assistance and 84 households with water or energy bills, collectively serving 69 Denver neighborhoods. And, just 5 percent of households that used the program received more than one month’s assistance, according to the city.

TRUA is geared toward those facing a rent increase, uninhabitable living conditions evidenced through a public health violation, a past-due notice or loss of a job.

Those eligible could receive up to six months of rent assistance and up to $1,000 in utility payments, the city has said. Eligible households can earn up to 80 percent of area median income —  $50,350 for an individual and $71,900 for a family of four.

The city has proposed extending contracts with the Northeast Denver Housing Center and Brothers Redevelopment Inc., nonprofits that currently administer the program. If the extension were approved, it would bring the Denver’s total investment in TRUA to nearly $1.9 million since its launch last fall, according to the city.

TRUA program organizers have considered adding housing counseling and benefit navigation services for applicants, along with guidance to free financial coaching as well as mediation services.

The proposal is expected to reach the Denver City Council for consideration by next Monday.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.