Rent assistance requirement leaves family fearing homelessness

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — The pandemic has left hundreds of thousands of people struggling to pay their rent or mortgages. Colorado agencies are working hard to help them avoid homelessness. Now many overloaded organizations need a helping hand as well.

Sarah Fisher’s family is being hit especially hard by the pandemic. Her husband contracted COVID-19 then was laid off. Her special needs child is now battling COVID-19. Fisher tells the Problem Solvers her family now faces losing their home.

“We definitely are worried about where we’re going to live,” she said.

With no unemployment benefits now coming in, Fisher applied for rental assistance, through the Almost Home program but learned that it will be impossible to receive an immediate payment. 

“I have to pay off almost 40% of the rent that I owe in order to qualify for assistance,” she said. 

That means she’ll have to raise $2,500 in order to have the total amount of $6,000 covered.

“I mean I’m barely making ends meet with food,” she said.

Fisher is working to make ends meet but says it is not enough. “Even with me having a job not having the rental assistance we need has been just heartbreaking,” she said.

Ashley Dunn, Executive Director of Almost Home tells FOX31 there are currently 2,000 families on the waiting list for rent assistance.

“We just don’t have enough funding to be able to help everyone,” she said.

Like many agencies and organizations across Colorado and the nation, the Almost Home program is funded by grants, but relies heavily on donations.

The payment stipulations are dictated by the grants that are received by Almost Home. Dunn says other resources can help qualifying clients raise partial payments if they qualify. Landlords must be willing to accept partial payments. The Almost Home website provides more information.

Dunn explains that donations are key to empowering organizations and enabling them to continue helping those in need.

“It is critical to have those funds coming from other sources so we can really fill the gaps,” Dunn said.

Fisher says she has exhausted other resources designed to provide assistance and hopes to find a solution before she ends up facing her worst fear for her child, “that he’s not going to be able to have a place to come home to.”

A GoFundMe is set up to help the Fisher family.

Visit the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for rental assistance resources. 

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