Englewood approves rent assistance

City enters deal with county to help residents who meet qualifications

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Englewood is looking to help some qualifying residents with rent assistance amid widespread job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At an April 6 Englewood City Council meeting hosted on the Zoom video communications service, council voted unanimously to approve a rent assistance program that locks Englewood into an intergovernmental agreement with Arapahoe County.

The program launched on April 7 and allows for Englewood residents who have a household income of 175% or less of the federal poverty level to apply for rent assistance.

The federal poverty level is used to determine what programs and benefits are available to residents. An example of a household income of 175% of the federal poverty level would be a household of two people who combine for an annual income of $30,170, according to Englewood.

The city is contributing $200,000 to the rent assistance program from its housing fund in Englewood's budget. Arapahoe County is assisting with processing applications for the program that is scheduled to last until Dec. 31, according to the intergovernmental agreement. The goal of the rent assistance program is to combat homelessness in Englewood.

“There are a whole lot of people who are experiencing reduced hours, or they have been laid off entirely. We needed to do something,” said Englewood City Councilmember John Stone. He said he would like to see the program be available to households who have an annual income of 250% of the federal poverty level.

“We can't allow our residents to end up homeless because they can't afford rent or because they can't go to work or make a living,” he said.

To qualify for the program, Englewood residents must provide a copy of a photo ID, proof of residence in the city, a copy of their current lease, proof of household income or lack of it, a W-9 from their landlord, proof of who lives in their household and their landlord's contact information.

Residents who wish to receive assistance from the program must also fill out an application that asks for basic information like an applicant's name, address, race, household size, education level, income, employer and more.

Rent assistance is limited to one month per household, and Arapahoe County has sole authority over application approvals. Arapahoe County will process rent checks that will be provided directly to landlords.

“Arapahoe County is happy to partner with the City of Englewood for this important program to give people the short-term assistance they need to stay in their homes and hopefully get back on their feet,” said Arapahoe County Commissioner Kathleen Conti in a statement to the Englewood Herald.

An April 2 report from Colorado Public Radio and The Associated Press said Colorado had processed 80,558 claims for unemployment since March 14.

Englewood City Manager Shawn Lewis said the city reached out to about half of Englewood's largest apartment complexes and found about a quarter of those complexes are providing a three-month deferral on April rent while another quarter are offering around a two-month deferral on April rent.

“So far, we think landlords are working with folks. The real unknown there is maybe it's a garage apartment or something like that where we don't have access to a database of landlords,” said Lewis at the meeting. He added that the city hasn't reached out to a number of the “low to moderate income” apartment complexes.

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