COLORADO — While so many people struggle to pay their bills and keep a roof over their head during this pandemic, one Colorado Springs organization is helping families escape eviction.
The non-profit, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, has had more requests for rental assistance than ever, but they’ve also seen more community support than ever.
Organizers with Catholic Charities say the outpouring of community support and donations during this pandemic has helped around 600 families escape eviction.
“We’ve been seeing greater requests, so sometimes we’ve been able to cover up to 3 months worth of rent assistance when in the past it would have been 250 dollars, and that’s all we could have done,” said Lorri Orwig, Senior VP of Operations for Catholics Charities of Central Colorado.
Orwig says more than half of the people who currently need rental assistance have never needed it before. About 55% tell the organization they either lost their job or had hours cut due to COVID-19 health guidelines.
Orwig added, “It’s not just families, but we’re keeping small business owners in the black too because we were able to help these landlords continue to pay their bills. They also needed to pay their mortgages; whether it was an individual small business owner or a property management company, they also had bills to pay.”
Through a wave of donations from local groups, foundations, or just individuals donors, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado just reached a milestone. They gave over half a million dollars in COVID-19 rental assistance to families and small business owners in the community.
“We’ve been so fortunate that this community has stepped up and is so generous. We know that they’re supportive all the time, but it’s been so wonderful during these past 8 months to have the additional support they’ve been able to provide us with,” Orwig said.
Catholic Charities also just received a grant focusing on long-term housing support for the community and increasing access to affordable housing.
“We are looking at how we can continue to build our rent assistance program through homelessness prevention through rapid rehousing, working with community health partners and the COC to provide long-term rent support for some of our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” according to Orwig.