Governor Polis Takes Action in Response to COVID-19
DENVER - Today, Governor Polis announced new economic recovery action in response to COVID-19. The Governor signed an Executive Order which will amend the Disaster Recovery Order to provide tenants who have a pending application for emergency rental assistance with a 30 day period to cure beginning on August 1, when the directives of the amended Executive Order go into effect.
Actions by the Polis administration and the state legislature have helped keep people housed throughout the pandemic while state and federal governments worked to pass legislation, design programs, and deploy emergency financial relief to cover pandemic-related rental challenges.
“With the expiration of the CDC National Eviction Moratorium, the time is now to be proactive in pursuing relief,” said DOLA Executive Director Rick M. Garcia. “Both landlords and tenants should remain in close contact with DOH regarding their applications, and landlords should refrain from evicting their tenants for nonpayment while they are pursuing help. We appreciate Coloradans’ patience as we approve applications and supply rental relief.”
A frequently asked question fact sheet about Colorado’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program can be found here.
The Polis administration has taken bold action to ensure Coloradans can remain in their homes amid this global pandemic. Governor Polis has signed a number of key pieces of legislation this year to address housing issues:
This year the Governor signed HB21-1271, a state stimulus bill that will address housing challenges by supporting and incentivizing local governments to remove barriers and adopt best practices for affordable housing development. The Polis administration is committed to working with local governments to find housing solutions and this bill creates different programs in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to promote innovative solutions to the development of affordable and mixed-income development housing across the state. Together, the programs will provide millions in funding to jump start development and incentivize the right kind of development to eliminate barriers to developing more housing across our State. Of this total, a $13 million portion is from the state’s Colorado Recovery Plan state stimulus, with $35 million of additional investment from the American Rescue Plan.
A new law signed by the Governor, SB21-242, will help utilize unused hotels and motels in the state that are at risk of permanently being unused, or have been used throughout the pandemic to help house persons experiencing homelessness. Counties and municipalities throughout the state have utilized hotels or motels for non-congregate sheltering during the pandemic. As part of our state stimulus plan, this new law will allow local governments, agencies, or non profit partners to help provide housing to persons experiencing homelessness. This new law signed by Governor Polis expands the use of the Housing Development Grant Fund within the Department of Local Affairs to allow for grants and loans to local governments, nonprofits, other partners for the rental, acquisition, or renovation of underutilized hotels, motels, and properties to provide non-congregate sheltering or affordable housing. The law also allocates $15 million and allows some of the funds to be used for support services, including helping individuals experiencing homelessness.
Additionally, the new law includes $15 million for direct assistance to Coloradans that have been left out of other relief programs, such as unemployment or the federal CARES stimulus checks. Many of these Coloradans work in our most affected industries, such as food service, and this additional funding will help them stabilize themselves and their families.
HB21-1329 will invest American Rescue Plan Act Funding in affordable housing. This new law, which Governor Polis signed in June, 2021, allocates $98.5 million to the Division of Housing for expanded gap financing, $1.5 million for the Eviction Legal Defense Fund, and creates the Affordable Housing and Homeownership Cash Fund. By allocating funds during the legislative session for gap financing, DOLA’s Division of Housing can help finance projects that range from initial planning to shovel ready.
Moreover, the Affordable Housing and Homeownership Cash Fund is creating a task force and interim committee process, setting roughly over $400 million aside for an interim process to make recommendations to the General Assembly for the 2022 session to use this one-time investment to further expand affordable and workforce housing, while also making key investments to increase housing stability for vulnerable Coloradans
In 2020, during the pandemic, Governor Polis launched an eviction prevention task force to examine housing instability challenges due to COVID-19.