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Denver expands eviction legal defense resources

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American Rescue Plan funding supports $1.5 million expansion to assist renters facing evictions through 2023.

Denver City Council tonight approved a series of contract amendments to expand eviction legal defense resources available for low- and moderate-income Denver households who rent their homes. The contract expansions extend legal defense resources through 2023, utilizing $1,500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

“We’re working to help households remain in their homes and to prevent more of our neighbors from falling into homelessness,” said Britta Fisher, executive director of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST). “By expanding access to legal representation in eviction proceedings, we’re enabling people to weather life’s challenges in their community without disrupting their circles of support where they feel connected and supported.”

HOST contracts with nonprofit partners to provide free eviction legal assistance to Denver households earning up to 80 percent of the area median income. Assistance includes legal representation, eviction prevention-related advice, referrals and outreach.

Council tonight approved a contract amendment with the Colorado Poverty Law Project, adding $900,000 in ARPA funds, for a new contract total of $1,355,152. A contract with The Community Firm was also extended with $600,000 in ARPA funds, for a new contract total of $984,000. Both contracts now run through Dec. 31, 2023. A contract with Colorado Legal Services was also amended with an additional $105,000 from local revenue funds, for a new contract total of $1,217,520.

The contract extensions support HOST’s Five-Year Strategic Plan goal of reducing the number of evictions filed by 25 percent, from 8,800 to 6,600 annually.

HOST provides a range of eviction and foreclosure resources to help keep people in their homes. For more information, visit the HOST website at www.denvergov.org/housing.

Denver’s long-range plan for recovery includes direct distribution of $308 million in ARPA Local Relief Funds. To date, Denver has received and allocated $154 million in ARPA funds to support city, community and business recovery efforts. Denver solicited and received feedback from over 6,200 residents, Denver City Council, city agencies, the Mayor’s Stimulus Advisory Committee, and the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Council between May and September 2021 to inform the use of the city’s first round of ARPA funds. The remaining $154 million is expected to be delivered to Denver in the third quarter of 2022. Federal law requires distribution of the funds by 2026. Denver also has a financial dashboard to show precisely how ARPA funds are being deployed to support the Mayor’s priority of Rebuilding for an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy (RISE).

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