Jul 30, 2021 - Politics

Colorado sits on $300M in rental aid as eviction moratorium expires

Federal rent aid by locality
Data: U.S. Department of Treasury; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

An estimated $300 million-plus in federal rental assistance remains unspent in Colorado as the federal eviction moratorium expires Saturday, a new Axios Denver analysis shows.

State and local authorities received more than $385 million in emergency rental assistance, but at the start of July only 11% — or roughly $41 million — had been distributed to help people stay in their homes, the analysis of U.S. treasury figures shows.

What's happening: Gov. Jared Polis' administration says efforts to prevent fraud, a record number of applications and shifting federal rules are contributing to the delay in getting aid out the door, the Colorado Sun reports.

  • Some people have been waiting more than two months to get money after their application was approved, advocates say.

By the numbers: The rental assistance program — one of several federal and state efforts to limit evictions — gave the state $248 million and sent another $137 million to 11 counties and cities, according to the Axios analysis.

Local governments spent 16% of their $137 million through June — with Denver the lowest at just over 1%. (El Paso County gave its money to the state.) The state spent just 8% of its allocation.

  • More than 8,000 people have received financial help so far.
  • The combined total unspent to start the month was $343 million.

What to watch: More than 80 local elected officials and advocates are asking the Democratic governor to extend some protections for renters who already applied for assistance but are still waiting to receive the money, Colorado Public Radio reports.

  • An estimated 12,000 rental aid applications are still pending.
  • A Polis spokesperson declined to comment on the request.

What they're saying: "Problem No. 1. is that a lot of landlords and tenants are unaware that [federal] assistance is available," the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project's Zach Neumann told Axios.

  • "And then for the folks who are aware and have applied, the process is incredibly slow-moving."

The other side: The Colorado Apartment Association says the moratorium is not needed because its landlord members reported 97% of tenants are paying rent on time.

Go deeper: Uptick in foreclosures and evictions on horizon in Colorado


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