Since the beginning of COVID-19, funds from the CARES Act, El Paso County CARES, Colorado Trust, Community Development Block Grant program, FEMA, Myron Stratton Home, Pikes Peak Community Foundations, Pikes Peak United Way, and numerous individual donations have made it possible for Catholic Charities to help families and individuals escape eviction.
“The economic impact of COVID-19 has been devastating on so many households. One of the reasons we have been able to keep evictions down locally is that our community has stepped up to provide the funding necessary to keep people housed. We are grateful that we could play our part in helping individuals and families weather the storm,” said Andy Barton, CEO of Catholic Charities. “But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Once many of the eviction stays expire, we are very concerned about the families who are living on the edge right now. We think the biggest wave of families needing help is yet to come.”
Catholic Charities has been in the rent assistance business for years, but funds have always been limited, usually extinguished by the fifth of the month. However, once the pandemic hit, with the resulting wave of potential evictions and mortgage defaults, the community stepped up with funds to help keep families in their homes.
Most of the people served with rent assistance have never sought help before. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Catholic Charities showed that 54% of those served with rent assistance stated they would not have needed services if not for COVID-19. Many of the people helped had lost jobs or had work hours significantly reduced as a result of the pandemic guidelines impacting business hours, closures, or limited numbers allowed into businesses.
Rochelle Schlortt is the Chief Communications Officer at Catholic Charities