Eviction rates increase as emergency rental assistance begins to run out
Since the pandemic began, more than 34,000 households in Colorado have benefited from emergency rental assistance. However, state officials estimate that this funding will run out by early 2023. This comes as rent in Colorado cities, including Denver, continues to rise at unprecedented rates. Federal and state action, including emergency rental assistance funding and eviction moratoria, have helped keep residents housed as the ongoing public health crisis exacerbates families’ barriers to economic security.
Throughout the pandemic, households with children have consistently been more likely than households without children to report being behind on housing payments or having little or no confidence in their ability to make next month’s payment. Nationally, renters with children have consistently been more than twice as likely as families who own their housing to report being behind on payments and being very or extremely likely to have to leave their home. For these reasons and many more, the investments made during the pandemic to keep families housed have been essential to children’s health and well-being.
Already, available local and state data show that eviction rates have returned to a level not seen since February 2020. Since June, eviction rates have been higher than they have in almost three years, with more than 3,000 evictions filed in each of the past three months. While some money for emergency rental assistance is still currently available, many of our state’s housing experts are concerned that the impact of funds running dry will be detrimental. Despite additional eviction legal defense funding secured during the 2022 legislative through HB22-1329, which the Children’s Campaign worked to secure alongside partners, there is still more to be done to prevent evictions.
Housing insecurity generates many stressors and challenges for families. Frequent moves, or living in overcrowded or poor-quality housing, impact children’s well-being and parents’ mental health. Children who experience high rates of housing instability or homelessness have lower academic achievement and delayed literacy skills. They are more likely to be truant and more likely to drop out of school. Mothers who have been evicted have higher rates of maternal depression. In addition, families with children are more likely to be evicted than other groups and, due to past and current racist policies and practices, Black and Latinx renters are significantly more likely to experience higher rates of eviction and homelessness.
In order to combat the impact of emergency rental assistance running out, some Colorado cities are beginning to invest in strategies that provide eviction legal defense or utilize local resources to help those in need of rental assistance. This support is essential, as increased investments in safe, stable, affordable housing for Colorado families is critical to the well-being of our state’s children and families. However, local efforts cannot fully replace the impact that federal funding for emergency rental assistance has had on keeping Colorado families housed.