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Programs to Assist Residents with Utilities and Rental Costs Begin Nov. 1

DENVER – The City and County of Denver will expand assistance for residents needing help with energy and utility costs or rental assistance beginning November 1, 2017.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 1, the new Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program (TRUA) and the annual Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) will begin accepting applications.

“We have heard loud and clear from Denver households that too often it is unforeseen circumstances or increased costs that can lead to a housing crisis,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “These tools are meant to provide temporary relief for people in a pinch to ensure that Denver residents can remain in their homes, and that we keep Denver affordable for all our people. We’re proud to be able to assist even more families by providing support for an essential aspect of home and family life to those in Denver who need it most.”

The two programs are part of the city’s comprehensive response to Denver’s increasing housing costs and efforts to make the market work for everyone.

The city is using the 3-1-1 call center to route residents looking to access housing assistance. Residents can dial Denver’s main information line, 3-1-1, and press 6 for help. Information is also available at Denvergov.org/housing.

Temporary Rental Utility Assistance Program (TRUA)

Administered by the Office of Economic Development, the TRUA program provides rental and/or utility assistance to residents experiencing a housing crisis, offering up to six months of rent assistance and up to $1,000 in utility payments. 

To qualify for the program, households must show a current financial or other housing crisis, such as a notice of rent increase that makes existing housing unaffordable, evidence of uninhabitable living conditions like a notice of public health violations, a past due notice, or loss of a job. Eligible households may earn up to 80 percent of area median income, which is up to $47,000 annually for an individual or $67,100 annually for a family of four.

Participants can receive up to six months of rental assistance of up to 80 percent of contracted rent, and/or up to two months of utility assistance not to exceed $1,000. All rental and utility assistance will be paid directly to the landlord/service provider.

TRUA is a new pilot program, which is paid for through Denver’s dedicated fund for housing, and is part of a collaborative effort to address critical and immediate needs of people facing utility shutoff, eviction, or displacement early in the housing crisis continuum. The TRUA program is estimated to serve over 300 families in the first year, and will target neighborhoods experiencing substantial change.

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)

Administered by Denver Human Services, LEAP helps qualifying low-income households with winter heating costs by paying a portion of home energy bills. To qualify, the household may earn up to 165% of the federal poverty index, which is $19,896 annually for an individual or $40,092 annually for a family of four. Both home owners and renters who have at least one legally present household member are eligible to apply for LEAP. The LEAP Program will receive applications through April 30, 2018.

In Denver, 8,309 households received help with their utility costs during the 2016/2017 winter months thanks to LEAP. Residents who wish to apply may call 1-866-HEAT-HELP (432-8435), or visit www.denvergov.org/LEAP.

In additions to these programs, households may also qualify for:

Tips on other ways to save energy and money this winter

  • Replace your furnace filter every two months during winter.
  • Keep curtains, shutters and blinds closed at night and when it is cloudy.
  • Turn down your heat; each degree you turn it down will save about 3% on your heating bill.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Set water heater temperatures at 120 degrees or lower.