Housing Gets a Boost
Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Colorado Legislature’s 2020 Special Session
On November 30, the Colorado legislature met for a three-day Special Session, passed ten COVID-19 relief bills, and spent $342M in coronavirus-related aid. This legislation provides some needed interim relief until federal relief becomes available. Lawmakers approved $57M in grants for restaurants, bars, caterers, fitness centers, and cultural, arts and entertainment venues. Restaurants and bars received a sales tax break through February and third-party delivery services can now have predatory fees limited by local governments. Grants totaling $45M were provided to help childcare facilities and neighborhood youth organizations remain open, and $20M to help the 66,000 school-aged kids who don’t have internet. Legislators transferred $100M into the state’s emergency relief fund for public health response.
For housing related assistance:
SB20B-002, Housing and Direct COVID Emergency Assistance
· Directs $54M for emergency housing assistance (must be used by June 30, 2021);
· Transfers $5M to create the Emergency Direct Assistance Grant Program Fund to support those unable to access federal aid because of their immigration status; and
· Directs $1M to the Eviction Legal Defense Fund.
Housing assistance funds will be used to support the five statewide programs created or expanded with the federal Coronavirus Relief Funds:
· Property Owner Preservation (POP) program for landlords (https://cdola.colorado.gov/rental-mortgage-assistance);
· Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) for tenants and homeowners (https://cdola.colorado.gov/rental-mortgage-assistance);
· Left Behind Workers Fund (https://www.impactcharitable.org/fund-apply);
· Youth Homelessness programs.
For utility assistance:
SB20B-003, Money for Energy Utility Bill Payment Assistance
· Directs $5M to the nonprofit organization Energy Outreach Colorado (https://www.energyoutreach.org/) to help low-income people pay their utility bills.
For food assistance:
HB20-S1003, Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program
· Directs $5M to the Food Pantry Assistance Grant Program.