City’s Housing and Human Services Department Continues to Support Boulder Community Through the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The City of Boulder’s Housing and Human Services Department (HHS), with the help of community partners, has adapted to ensure continuity of its programs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
HHS is committed to providing resources to keep community members in their homes and to the safety and care of homeless populations.
Key HHS programs in these areas include:
The COVID-Recovery Center (CRC)
Individuals experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable during the pandemic due to environmental conditions and the congregant nature of shelters and meal services. In early March, a countywide team led by HHS worked quickly to establish the CRC, implement new screening and social distancing protocols at existing shelters and secure transportation to divert symptomatic individuals to the CRC. The CRC model provides continuous monitoring of sick individuals while providing a safe environment to isolate while recovering. The CRC was established early in the pandemic, and since March 20, only nine unsheltered individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. The CRC has been supported by over 5,000 hours from City of Boulder staff, county staff and community volunteers.
Keeping Families Housed and Rental Assistance Programs
For many in our community, the pandemic’s economic impacts have made affording basic needs difficult. HHS 2020 grants to the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) have provided more than $300,000 to date for rental assistance payments to keep families and individuals experiencing financial challenges in their homes. In August, an additional $400,000 in rental assistance funds will be granted to EFAA and Boulder Housing Partners to further serve the community. These grants utilize Community Development Block Grant funds established as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to the City of Boulder. Support for this and other EFAA basic needs services are helping stabilize Boulder households during COVID-19.
Additionally, the Family Resource Schools program (FRS) provides rental assistance to approximately 48 households during a regular school year. Since March 16, Family Services has provided $19,745 in rental assistance to 43 families at risk of losing their homes due to income loss resulting from COVID-19.
Conflicts between landlords and tenants arise under regular circumstances and the City of Boulder has been offering mediation services since the 1980s as an alternative to court. Since the pandemic, demand for this service has doubled and the mediation service has helped 118 community members reach resolution during the last few months. In many cases, mediation has helped people stay in their current homes and has minimized the stress of current circumstances. With eviction court now resuming, Community Mediation Service developed new processes to offer the opportunity to mediate prior to court and to connect tenants to financial resources as part of the mediation process. In 80% of mediation cases, landlords and tenants have been able to reach an agreement.
Older Adult Online Services
With social isolation considered to be a public health risk, Older Adult Service have moved to online programming during COVID-19 to ensure that staff stays connected to older adults. Program staff have developed creative health and wellness programs as well as opportunities for lifelong learning and support groups. Client Services Coordinators provide a variety of services, including assessments for home healthcare, assistance with benefits applications, caregiver support, referrals to community resources and counseling on housing, transportation, healthcare, food assistance and financial support options.
For more information, visit: BoulderColorado.gov/HHS and BoulderColorado.gov/coronavirus-resources-for-individuals-and-families.
Published: July 31, 2020
Zach McGee, Media Relations, 720-868-6810