How To Apply For Colorado’s $20M Rent And Mortgage Assistance Program

Valverde. April 29, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A block in Denver’s Valverde neighborhood, April 29, 2020.

Colorado's state government launched a $20 million fund on Friday that will help people pay their rent and mortgage bills during the pandemic.

The money comes from the federal CARES Act, and it will be distributed by various agencies around the state. To apply, renters and residential homeowners in Colorado should call 2-1-1 and ask to be directed to a local agency that can help them apply for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. A map of the agencies is also available online.

Landlords also can apply for rent assistance by registering online for the Property Owner Preservation Program.

The new fund has enough money to pay $1,000 in rent and mortgages for 20,000 households. For comparison, the workforce has lost nearly 200,000 jobs since last year, according to the state labor department. And demand for the assistance money may increase as the $600 weekly unemployment supplement will expire July 25, assuming the federal government does not extend it.

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The new program was created by the Colorado state legislature during their short lawmaking session this year, under a law sponsored by Democrats and signed by Gov. Jared Polis.

"This pandemic is far from over, and we will continue working to do everything we can to help provide some relief to those who have been significantly impacted. We are all in this together and we will get through this together," Polis said in a news release.

Rules for renters and homeowners

To qualify for help, renters and residential homeowners have to meet the following conditions:

  • Affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Can't make rental and mortgage payments without sacrificing necessities like food
  • Currently earning less than 80% of the area median income for the county where they live; check the table in this document to determine the 80% AMI limit for your household's size
  • For homeowners, a mortgage statement and a document showing the mortgage company has refused to defer mortgage payments
  • For renters, a lease or other document that shows their address, including driver's licenses, pay stubs or utility bills; alternatively, a statement from the landlord

Again, to apply, call 2-1-1 and ask to be directed to a local agency for rent and mortgage assistance, or look up your agency online.

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The program will pay the cost of the mortgage or rent, but it's capped at 150 percent of the "fair market rent" for your county. For example, that's about $2,350 in Arapahoe County. Check your area's FMR online.

The program can pay multiple months of rent or mortgage for people who have fallen behind. You are allowed to reapply in future months. Check the program guidelines for more details.

Rules for landlords

Colorado landlords can apply for rent payments on behalf of their tenants. In other words, they can ask the state to repay missed rent. To do so, they must agree to release judgments and credit findings against the tenants, and they must consider the rent to be paid.

Guidelines and an application are available online for landlords