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Rent Assistance Key To People Staying In Their Homes, Groups Say

Maria Ziegler

As employers continue to lay off workers at unprecedented levels, every state in the Mountain West has some kind of rent assistance program in place. Low-income housing advocates hope those programs, and their funding, can keep up with the ongoing need.

"Losing one month of income is the determining factor between being housed and being unhoused," said Cathy Alderman with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

When someone gets evicted because they can't afford rent, Alderman said, problems can snowball from there. 

"Everything becomes even a bigger uphill battle in terms of finding a new place, finding a landlord who will take you if you have an eviction on your record," she said.

In Colorado alone, the total funding needed for rent assistance is more than $1.4 billion, by far the highest level in the region, according to National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates.

Last month, the U.S. House passed a bill that would create a $100 billion national rent assistance program as part of a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package, but it was rejected by the Senate.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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