Denver evictions on track to hit record high
Eviction could hit a record in Denver this year after a surge in filings.
Driving the news: The city's Department of Housing Stability said at a public budget hearing last week that it's projecting 12,000 eviction filings this year — far above the record 10,241 filed in 2010, according to city documents.
- Mayor Mike Johnston said during the hearing that there are currently about 1,200 eviction filings a month, calling the situation a "crisis."
Why it matters: Evictions directly correlate to homelessness, which is growing across metro Denver.
State of play: The sharp uptick is driven by a dramatic increase in rental prices combined with federal rental assistance running out, local evictions attorney Zach Neumann tells us.
- Neumann is CEO at Community Economic Defense Project, which started during the pandemic to provide legal representation to those facing eviction.
Threat level: People who are evicted can struggle to get housing or retain a job, while the trauma associated with evictions can leave a lasting impact, like PTSD symptoms.
By the numbers: The city has budgeted $12.6 million for rent and utility assistance — the most the city has invested annually for this program — in the 2023-24 budget.
- But that's far less than the city spent in 2022 ($21.4 million) and the anticipated spending for 2023 ($20.6 million) due to a loss in federal pandemic aid money, city housing stability director Melissa Thate tells us.
Between the lines: Eviction or being asked to leave a home was the second highest self-reported reason for homelessness, according to the latest point-in-time report from the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, released in July.
- The top reason was an inability to pay rent or mortgage.
Zoom in: Research suggests for every one formal filing, there are two households that self-evict, Neumann says.
- "Whenever you see 1,200 eviction filings, there are probably 3,600 households that had to move out because they couldn't pay," Neumann says.
Be smart: Thate recommends people seek out resources as soon as they begin to fall behind on rent and avoid waiting too long before seeking help.
- An eviction clinic offering resources is available Monday through Friday between 8am and noon in Room 163 at the City and County Building (1437 Bannock St.); calling 311 and pressing 6 connects you to resources like rent and utility assistance.
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