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Program to keep low-income residents in their home faces contractor shortage

'Our Colorado' explores low-income program woes
Posted at 4:21 PM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 18:21:48-04

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DENVER -- A contractor shortage is hitting a program to help low-income residents make emergency repairs and renovate their homes. 

For the first time in 40 years, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, or DURA, is having a tough time finding skilled workers for home rehab projects.

"Contractors can't find enough help, there aren't enough contractors all over the city so we're not alone in this one," said Fred Yeazel, a rehabilitation specialist with DURA. 

As Denver continues to become more expensive, there's an increasing demand for DURA's services. Last year, the program helped rehabilitate 216 homes in Denver. The work included replacing roofs, fixing electrical and plumbing issues, and making homes more accessible for handicapped residents.

Qualifying applicants are able to get grants and low interest or deferred loans to do the necessary work.

The program helped Lydia Rodguez stay in her Denver home. It was in need of extensive electrical and plumbing work to bring it up to code.

"It's been a blessing from the heavens, that's all I can say," said Rodguez.

DURA contractors would like to work on more homes but right now they don't have enough capacity to do so. Yeasel said additional contractors would give them the ability to take on those projects.

"It would mean we could do more jobs and help more people every year," said Yeazel. 

He explains that DURA pays market prices for the work that is done and many of those contractors also work in the private sector. Additional benefits of working with DURA and more information about the program is listed here.