DENVER — Furloughed employees may be able to access financial assistance to help with mortgage payments as the result of a new program announced Monday by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

About 800,000 federal workers in the U.S. are going without pay as lawmakers in Washington, D.C. remain gridlocked over President Donald Trump's demand for a barrier along the country's southwestern border.

Denver's "Temporary Mortgage Assistance" program will provide households up to two months or $5,000 to help cover mortgage payments. It's available to any homeowner facing financial hardship -- including furlough, temporary layoff or significant reduction in hours worked.

"I don’t want anyone to lose their home because of this shutdown, so Denver’s going to step up and support our federal employee residents where we can," Hancock said.

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Applicants can begin applying for the program beginning this Wednesday, Jan. 16 through Mile High United Way's 211 Call Center. 

"We know this uncertainty is causing a scary situation for many individuals and families across metro Denver and the nation," said Mile High United Way CEO Christine Benero.

Applicants need to provide documentation of a hardship in meeting the mortgage payment due to loss of income, such as pay stubs, proof of unemployment application, state or benefit notice or a tax return.

To qualify, applicants' total household income cannot exceed 120 percent of the area median income, which is up to $75,600 for a single-person household or up to $107,880 for a family of four.

The home must be located within the city and county of Denver, and the homeowner must reside in the home as their primary residence.

"After completion of an application, we hope to be able to begin determining eligibility within a week and  begin processing payments by the end of the month," said Shelby Ross, a spokesperson for Mile High United Way. "Payments will be made directly to mortgage companies."

The city's existing Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance (TRUA) program also offers up to six months assistance for renters and up to $1,000 in utility payments for qualifying renters or homeowners.

TRUA launched in November 2017, and 961 households have used it.

Housing assistance programs are funded through Denver's affordable housing fund, which was passed in 2016.

Denver Human Services has also extended their Monday lobby hours to 7 p.m., and will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday to support Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients impacted by the federal government partial shutdown, giving more time for residents who need to re-certify their eligibility by the noon on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 deadline.

Denver Human Services will also host a resource fair on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at their Sun Valley (1200 Federal Blvd.) and East Denver (3815 Steele St.) locations for people in need of support.

Resources include housing costs supports (eviction, rental, mortgage, and utility assistance), food banks and other food resources, and help with other essential needs.

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