Axios Denver

Newsletter branding image

๐Ÿคญ Happy Saturday! JK, April Fools'. It's Monday. Boo.

๐ŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Denver members Anne Bailey and Amber Valdez!

๐Ÿ† Situational awareness: The Colorado Avalanche clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the seventh straight season with a 7-4 win against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

  • Less than 24 hours later, the Denver Nuggets also secured a playoff berth after crushing the Cleveland Cavaliers 130-101 yesterday.

Today's newsletter is 899 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Rental assistance program preps for record year

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Denver's housing department is bracing for a busy year for its rental and utility assistance program.

The big picture: The $29.1 million is the most the city has ever made available, housing stability director Melissa Thate tells us.

By the numbers: Last year, 3,509 households received assistance totaling roughly $22 million.

  • Funding came from federal and city resources, but the program still ran out of money.

Why it matters: The financial assistance plays a critical role in keeping people housed and preventing evictions.

Zoom in: Since applications reopened in January, the city has already provided roughly $5 million in direct assistance to 626 households.

Data: Denver County Court and Denver Sheriff Department; Chart: Axios Visuals

The intrigue: While a spike in eviction filings last year prompted the Denver City Council to significantly increase program funding, data shows most evictions were not carried out.

  • 12,910 evictions were filed in county court, the sheriff's department completed roughly 14%, according to data from those offices and agencies.
  • Thate says the sheriff's department works with the city in some cases where a person faces imminent eviction to verify a renter has applied for resources to avoid getting kicked out.

Between the lines: Dan Brooks, whose company Pomeranz Realty includes six local rental properties, tells us some tenants have thanked him after he filed for an eviction because it allows them to apply for assistance.

  • "It's kind of backwards," Brooks tells us. He says people should get help before it gets to that point.
  • Thate confirms eviction assistance โ€” in the form of legal representation โ€” is usually only available after someone has an eviction filed against them, though people can still apply for assistance prior to a filing.

Yes, but: Despite existing resources, people are still being evicted, struggling to make rent and being priced out of Denver.

What they're saying

2. Homeless shelter shootings prompt new security protocols

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Despite deploying more security guards to a former hotel housing Denverites experiencing homelessness, a third person was shot just 11 days after a double homicide at the same shelter.

Why it matters: Mayor Mike Johnston's multimillion-dollar plan to provide transitional housing is presenting safety risks for those it's meant to help most.

  • The latest security issues have also sparked tension between some city leaders and the Salvation Army, which operates the shelter and others like it.

The latest: Denver is now considering taking back $800,000 from its contract with the Salvation Army, which was intended for security measures, 9News reports.

  • The move comes after the city took the lead from the Salvation Army โ€” adding metal detectors, security cameras, and hiring private firm Securitas to station six unarmed guards onsite 24/7 โ€” Cole Chandler, the mayor's senior adviser for homelessness resolution, told us.
  • Denver police are also using "covert assets" to uncover weapons within the hotel, chief Ron Thomas said Thursday.

What they're saying: Some people say they would feel safer sleeping on the streets than at the hotel shelter, Denver7 reports.

  • "There have been a lot of deaths here since I've been here," shelter resident Jeremy Page told the news station.

By the numbers: Since January, seven people have died โ€” including the two fatally shot in March โ€” at the former DoubleTree off Interstate 70 and Quebec Street, per the Denver Gazette. The cause of death for the other five remains unknown.

  • Meanwhile, nearly 500 calls from the hotel have been made to the police in a roughly four-month span, with most calls related to trespassing and court order violations, Denverite reports.

Keep reading

3. Scoop: ๐Ÿ’œ "Love is Blind" cast's latest sightings

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix

"Love is Blind" โ€” Netflix's wildly popular reality dating show โ€” is continuing its post-pods filming streak across Denver since it started casting local contestants a year ago.

The latest: The night of March 23, the cast filmed an episode in Centennial at the Mexican restaurant My Neighbor Felix, restaurant staff first confirmed to Axios Denver.

  • That same day, the filming crew was spotted at Odell Brewing Sloan's Lake Brewhouse & Pizzeria, we learned from a patron who was there at the time.
  • Odell staff declined to say which show was filming, but did confirm a production crew was on-site that day.
  • On March 24, the cast stopped by Le Bilboquet, a French restaurant in Denver's Cherry Creek neighborhood, the eatery's PR agent Callie Sumlin told us.

Flashback: Just days before that, the show was spotted at Linger in Denver's Lower Highlands neighborhood, we first reported.

The big picture: "Love is Blind" recently aired its sixth season, filmed in Charlotte, which marked the most streamed season in franchise history, Axios Charlotte's Laura Barrero reports.

๐Ÿ‘€ Spot the show filming? Email us with details at [email protected] to help us keep track!

Tell a friend

4. Mile Highlights: Street sweeping starts tomorrow

A Denver street sweeper maneuvers around an illegally parked car. Photo: Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

๐Ÿงน Denver's street sweeping returns tomorrow. Be sure to check the red and white parking restriction signs on your block, or the schedule online, to avoid getting hit with a $50 ticket.

๐Ÿ‘€ A new video filmed in a Denver migrant shelter shows a city leader telling people that Denver can't support them and urging them to travel to other cities. (9News)

๐Ÿ›ข A state bill that would have banned new oil and gas drilling after 2030 was rejected by a bipartisan majority of a Senate committee after nine hours of public comment. (Colorado Sun)

๐Ÿš The U.S. Army is investigating two helicopter crashes that happened within 48 hours of each other, including one near Fort Carson, which left two soldiers hospitalized. (Axios)

5. ๐Ÿ€ Buffs' March Madness ride ends

Colorado guard Jaylyn Sherrod during Saturday's Sweet 16 game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in Albany, New York. Photo: Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The CU women's basketball team's season came to an end Saturday with an 89-68 loss to Iowa and Caitlin Clark in the Sweet 16.

  • The Buffs' 2023 tournament run also ended at the hands of Clark and the Hawkeyes.

By the numbers: Colorado finished 24-10, marking the third consecutive season with 20 or more wins.

Our picks:

โœŒ๏ธ John is out of the office.

๐Ÿ˜† Alayna is buying tickets to see Chelsea Handler at the Buell Theatre this Friday.

๐Ÿณ Esteban loved the brunch menu from Sullivan Scrap Kitchen in City Park West.

Thanks to our editor Ross Terrell and copy editor Bill Kole.