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Denver rents are up 20% since 2019. They’re still rising, but not quite as fast.

Plus, the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program is now in its final phase

Apartment units are seen in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. About 30% of Denver homes don’t have air conditioning, potentially leading some residents to health risks from excessive heat. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)
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What’s Working: A version of this story first appeared in a segment of our weekly What’s Working column on July 23, 2022. Additional details are included in this story. Read the full column. >> Sign up for the newsletter

Just like home prices, rents are still much higher than they were pre-pandemic.

According to Zillow’s data, typical rent in the U.S. crossed the $2,000 per month threshold for the first time. In Denver, monthly rent is now around $2,005, up 20.4% since June 2019.

But the rise in rents is expected to decelerate for a number of reasons, senior Zillow economist Jeff Tucker said in an email. They’re still growing, just slower.

“A rapid run-up in rents that peaked in February was likely a one-time event, driven by a return to cities and people moving out of shared apartments or their parents’ house. We’re expecting rent growth to ease back down over the next several months as vacancy rates rise above historic lows,” he said. “One factor that could slow the return to normal is the high cost of buying a home, which will encourage many renters to renew their lease instead.”

An apartment complex in Congress Park with units available for rent on June 11, 2022. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun)

Time is running out for renters assistance 

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

There’s still money available for folks who struggle to pay rent. But the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program is now in its final phase, according to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, which has been disbursing hundreds of millions of dollars to help residents pay rent.

During the pandemic, federal funds paid up to 15 months of past-due, current and future rent for thousands of Coloradans who suffered a financial hardship due to COVID. Eligibility for the program is no longer limited to renters impacted by COVID, but time is running out.

On DOLA’s site, the agency said as of this month, it’s changing gears to focus on affordable housing because “it remains our primary concern to keep people housed, and ensure any experience of homelessness is as brief as possible.”

DOLA has been paying out more than $20 million a month this year, according to department officials. It’s disbursed about $246 million in rent, or about 65% of available funds. Combined with earlier programs, that’s helped more than 30,000 households in Colorado. 

“The overall impact of this program is significant, with far less families evicted and more applicants having opportunities to stabilize their housing,” said Sarah Buss, director of housing recovery. 

Colorado Sun staff writer Marvis Gutierrez contributed to this report.

What’s Working: A version of this story first appeared in a segment of our weekly What’s Working column on July 23, 2022. Additional details are included in this story. Read the full column. >> Sign up for the newsletter


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