Around 36,285 evictions have been filed in the state of Colorado as of Dec. 4, which is a 7.52% increase from the previous year. Longmont’s Green Party is advocating for an eviction-free Colorado by encouraging lawmakers to renew and extend the Emergency Rental Assistance Grant Program.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Grant Program provides grants to residential tenants whose income is less than 80% of the area median income and who are at risk of eviction or displacement. The program’s funding is set to expire on June 30.
“We believe that housing is a fundamental human right,” stated Patrick Dillon, spokesperson for the Longmont Green Party. “No family should face the fear of eviction due to financial hardships beyond their control. Renewing and expanding the Emergency Rental Assistance Grant Program is an essential step towards creating a more equitable and secure Colorado for all its residents.”
Dillon believes Colorado should permanently adopt the Emergency Rental Assistance Grant Program to help prevent homelessness.
“Local nonprofits and state agencies can focus on the chronic homelessness without their burden being added onto,” Dillon said.
The Longmont Green Party believes that housing is a basic human right and has set a mission to stop one of the major contributing factors to homelessness, which is eviction, Dillon said. Colorado is an expensive state to live in, Dillon said, which means many people may need assistance for more than a few months.
He believes continuing the Emergency Rental Assistance Grant Program is the first step in helping Colorado residents. He also believes that the program should be expanded by increasing the funding to whatever “it takes to meet the current demand,” he said.
Dillon also proposed that the government utilize vacant buildings as temporary or permanent housing. He proposes working with local nonprofits to renovate these properties and run them to serve local needs.
For those looking for assistance, Dillon believes that education on the issue is key. He said many people don’t know that there are programs to help with rental assistance. He encourages community members to talk more about the topic and share what they do know because you never know who might be struggling.