As the challenges due to COVID-19 continue to affect so many aspects of residents’ lives, we continue to focus on these area to provide financial and supportive resources:
After BHP’s initial rent relief program, which waived a month’s rent (or up to $1,000 for market-rate households) for households with income loss due to COVID-19, our efforts shifted to helping residents access:
Since March 2020, all residents who do not pay rent on time are contacted each month by Resident Services or Property Management to assist them with accessing rent support. BHP staff helped residents complete POP applications over the phone, reducing barriers and helping ensure that the paperwork includes all necessary details for submission. To date, we have assisted 90 residents with their applications totaling $240,836. Our Resident Services and Property Management Departments implemented a warm handoff process so that residents who would like EFAA to contact them answer some initial screening questions while on the phone with BHP staff and then receive a call from an EFAA case manager within 72 hours. Since March, residents have received $522,112 in rent support from local organizations and Boulder County Housing and Human Services to support residents with rent payments.
To further support residents, late fees are waived for residents who are experiencing financial hardship from COVID-19 and who apply for rental assistance.
BHP’s eviction rates remain low, with a 1.2% or lower annual eviction rate over the past three years. Even before the pandemic and the recent state and federal moratoriums on evictions, BHP has sought to help residents stay in their homes whenever possible. Efforts include identifying residents at risk of eviction due to non-payment of rent or other lease violations; providing support and resources to facilitate immediate resolution of the barriers to payment as well as longer-term stabilization; providing residents the required legal notice regarding a possible eviction with an accompanying bilingual, reader-friendly cover letter with information on available community resources, including financial assistance and legal representation. The Resident Services and Property Management departments follow up with additional phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings as appropriate. BHP will continue to refine our internal processes to prevent evictions and will inform residents and participants about any pandemic-related eviction moratoriums. BHP evictions for monetary reasons remain on hold indefinitely, including instances not covered by the Center for Disease Control moratorium.
Voucher households who have lost income due to COVID-19 were able to complete an affidavit to reduce their portion of rent. The first affidavit covered 60-days. A second affidavit was offered that covered 90-days. A third affidavit is also being offered to cover an additional 120-day decrease in rent. 184 unique voucher households have received reductions in rent and the amount of their Housing Assistance Payments increased to $261,190.
We continue with multiple outreach campaigns to residents(phone, email, postings, social media, newsletters) covering topics of high importance to residents: housing stability; rent relief; employment opportunities; executive orders; community safety; community resources; food tax rebate; free B-Cycles access; rec center access; and mental health supports. The Resident Services Department also provides tenant-based voucher holders an opt-out bimonthly “Opportunities” email with this type of information.
Residents at 16 communities receive food weekly or bi-weekly from Boulder Food Rescue with support from resident volunteers, called GPCs (Grocery Program Coordinators).So far in 2020, Boulder Food Rescue increased the amount of delivered food by 131% at all communities, delivering a total of 183,293 pounds of food, with an estimated value of $636,027!
There are currently 14 properties where we offer free resident Wi-Fi. Residents at Woodlands will soon have access to new resident Wi-Fi, and residents across 10 communities will soon benefit from upgraded Wi-Fi, thanks to BHP’s tech team. As we all have been experiencing, online access is even more essential during the pandemic, and this will help residents stay connected to school, work, telehealth, online classes, family members, and friends.
Tech to Connect, a local nonprofit that provides used iPads and light-touch technology training to older adults, has partnered with Resident Services. The partnership started out at the Northport community, where over 50% of residents requested an iPad within the first few weeks they were available.
If you are a Boulder Housing Partners resident or Housing Choice Voucher holder, please continue to reach out to your Community Manager or Housing Choice Voucher specialist if you have any questions or concerns about paying rent due to COVID-19 economic hardships.
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