DENVER -- A program helping hundreds of families pay for housing in Denver is depending on a vote to extend those services to the end of 2018. Denver City Council will decide whether to extend and expand the Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program, also known as TRUA on Monday. If approved, the extension would go through December 31, 2018.
The extension going before city council has to do with two separate contracts providing assistance to nonprofit partners Northeast Denver Housing Center and Brothers Redevelopment Inc.
If city council approves the resolutions on Monday, each contract would see an additional $500,000. Northeast Denver Housing Center would have a new total of $880,000 and Brothers Redevelopment, Inc. would have a new total of $985,000. The increase would be paid for through Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund, bringing Denver’s total investment in TRUA to nearly $1.9 million since the launch in November of last year.
The TRUA pilot phase started in November 2017 with the expectation of helping 300 households. Since the start of the pilot, the need has grown to more than 500 households across 69 Denver neighborhoods. TRUA offers rent and utility assistance to households earning up to 80% of the area median income, which is $50,350 for an individual and $71,900 for a family of four.
The Denver Office of Economic Development said the additional funding being voted on by city council on Monday could also extend the current services being offered.
"Financial counseling, financial coaching, connections through benefit navigations to other services and programs that might be available to households to help establish a firmer footing,” said Derek Woodbury, Denver Office of Economic Development Communications Director.
While fewer than 5% of the households who received help during the pilot phase received more than one month's assistance, the city is seeking to balance its emergency/immediate housing program services with other support programs so that households can better weather the storm of a setback on income or other circumstances.