DENVER (KDVR) — Public comment for the Denver mayor’s 2024 budget proposal was underway at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Before the meeting got started, folks were already raising some concerns. Several community groups and city council members came out to urge the mayor to better fund rental assistance.

It was not the first time they made this call, either. Earlier this month, 12 of the 13 city council members signed a letter from community members calling on Mayor Mike Johnston to boost funding for rental assistance by at least $17.5 million.

‘Keep good people in their homes,’ councilman urges

Right now, only a little more than $12.6 million is allocated to this area of the budget. Council members and supporters said at least $30.1 million is needed in funding or they fear the eviction crisis and unhoused population will increase.

“If we don’t do something to shut down the pipeline that keeps pushing good people out onto the streets, the problem is not only going to increase, it’s going to magnify,” said Denver City Council Member Paul Kashmann, of District 6. “We can’t let that happen. I urge the mayor to add the needed money to keep good people in their homes.”

“I implore Mayor Johnston to either reconsider his stance or we have the votes there within council,” said Denver City Council Member Stacie Gilmore, of District 11. “I’ve been a good student for the last eight years of how government works and how good government works. This is the time for us to bring forward the people’s voice and make sure that we’re protecting them.”

After the initial plea for more money, the mayor allocated an additional $3 million for rental assistance. Supporters said the additional funding does not even scratch the surface of what is needed.