Sep 2, 2021 - COVID

The end of eviction protections in Colorado looms

Illustration of a welcome mat that reads "help"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The last statewide protections against evictions are slated to expire Saturday, and Gov. Jared Polis hasn’t signaled whether he’ll extend the moratorium.

Why it matters: Up until August, rental assistance had moved very slowly toward those who need it. Meanwhile, 51,000 households across Colorado are behind on rent, and 20% are in Denver, according to a recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

  • Those with late payments are overwhelmingly low-income households whose residents have suffered job and wage losses amid the pandemic.

State of play: Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down the federal eviction moratorium, Polis’ office tells Axios it has no immediate plans to implement new state-level protections.

  • In preparation, the state has taken steps to accelerate the disbursement of housing aid to eligible renters and landlords, Polis’ spokesperson Conor Cahill tells Axios.
  • The city of Denver this week also expanded its capacity to dish out federal emergency rent and utility assistance to households in need.

Between the lines: The blow to vulnerable renters comes at an inflection point in the pandemic, as the Delta variant adds fuel to the fire and COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths climb in Colorado and beyond.

  • Throughout the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discouraged the displacement of tenants to "alleviate the public health consequences" and prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Yes, but: Colorado policymakers passed several pieces of legislation at the state and local levels to better protect renters, many of which kick in this fall.

The big picture: The percentage of Colorado renters at risk of eviction is much lower than many other states in the U.S., including California, where 750,000 households are behind on rent.

The bottom line: The number of evictions in Colorado and across the country is going to rise sharply in the coming months, Axios’ Felix Salmon writes.


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