COLORADO, USA — A helpline that connects people to housing solutions said their call volume surged last week, and they have a few ideas about why.
Colorado Housing Connects is a free, statewide hotline – run by the non-profit Brothers Development - that helps people navigate rental and mortgage questions.
“So far 2023 is off to a hectic start for us,” said Patrick Noonan, program director for Colorado Housing Connects.
“Last week we had over 1,500 inquires. This same time last year we had about 700. Things get really busy for us when we have over 1,100 inquiries in a given week, so it really was a significant uptick from what we're used to seeing.”
Noonan and his team suspect the call surge reflects the impact of Colorado’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program coming to an end. That statewide pandemic-era program stopped taking new applications back in mid-November.
When that was running, the state was getting an average of 3,500 applications a month. The state previously said it served tens of thousands of Colorado households and disbursed hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to people.
Without that resource, Noonan said many families are starting to struggle.
“With rising costs, rents still very expensive, and some of the pandemic relief safety nets drying up, it’s becoming harder and harder for people to stay afloat. They’ve been scrambling into the new year trying to figure out how to keep a roof over their head,” he said.
“People should keep in mind that the resource landscape is changing dramatically. Denver residents might be able to benefit from local rental assistance dollars. People in other counties may have resources available to them. It’s really changing, and it’s going to look different depending on where someone lives,” Noonan said. “We’re trying to help people understand what those resources are and how they can connect to whatever resource might be available in their community.”
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