The philanthropic arm of the Colorado Association of Realtors has tapped into its disaster relief fund to award a total of $125,000 to help three Colorado nonprofits keep people across the state housed during the economic downturn caused by novel coronavirus.
Brothers Redevelopment receives $25,000, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless $50,000, and Colorado Habitat for Humanity $50,000 from the Colorado Association of Realtors Foundation to be used for rent and mortgage assistance.
Chris Djorup, who chairs the foundation’s board of directors and is a residential realtor in Metro Denver, said Tuesday that once the decision was made to use disaster relief funds, his organization launched a call for applications and awarded the grants within a few weeks.
“We just knew there were people who needed help, and we wanted it done in a timely manner,” he said. “The need is just great across the state.”
Karen Kallenberg, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Colorado, said based on communications from homeowners who received loans from her nonprofit, she expects about 30% are not able to pay their mortgage this month and in the months to come.
“This is consistent statewide as well as the Denver metro area,” Kallenberg said in an email. “If economic conditions persist over the long term, we expect needs to increase.”
Habitat uses the mortgage payments it receives to build more homes that can be sold below market rates. Statewide, Kallenberg said, Habitat for Humanity affiliates receive a total of more than $960,000 per month in mortgage payments on more than 1,600 mortgages.
Kallenberg said the $50,000 Habitat received from the realtors foundation was invested in a emergency mortgage help fund that Habitat launched in response to the coronavirus. She said Habitat has so far raised $200,000 for its fund and hopes to reach “$500,000 as a starting point to use for mortgage assistance, to help Habitat families across the state who have lost income during this period.
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is trying to help residents of its own apartment complexes and those it has helped find housing elsewhere with rent and utility assistance when needed.
But Cathy Alderman, the coalition’s vice president of communications and public policy, said the effort “isn’t always funded consistently.” And I will say that the funds go quickly.
She said the $50,000 from the group of realtors could be spent in three or four months. The coalition was seeking additional financial assistance in this area amid concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on housing stability, Alderman said, noting that the governor has declared a moratorium on evictions, but that this does not mean that people are exempt from paying rent.
Brothers Redevelopment received state coronavirus relief funds to distribute to households in need of rent or mortgage assistance who earn no more than half their area’s median income. Djorup said the grant from the estate agents foundation will allow the brothers to help households earning between 50% and 80% of the AMI.
Djorup said the Realtors Foundation is planning two more rounds of grants this year for a total of at least $225,000 more.
Even before the coronavirus hit, Djorup said his foundation decided to more than double the $60,000 it gave last year to nonprofits working in areas such as providing affordable housing. and the fight against homelessness. June 1 is the deadline for the foundation’s normal grantmaking cycle, with $125,000 to be distributed this year. In response to the pandemic, a second round of grants of at least $100,000 is planned. The application period for the second round opens July 13, and nonprofits have until August 31 to apply. Information on applications can be found on the foundation website.
Djorup said the $225,000 to be distributed over the two grant cycles would not necessarily go to rental assistance and mortgage programs.
Over the past 25 years, the real estate industry group’s foundation has awarded more than $7.8 million to Colorado nonprofits working in areas such as providing affordable housing and combating homelessness. The foundation’s disaster relief fund was created in response to the Colorado fires and floods in 2013 and 2014.
The foundation is funded in part by interest from escrow accounts into which brokers and securities companies place money from customer deposits.
Also on Tuesday, the city of Denver announced it is allocating $4 million in federal funds for rent and utility assistance, $1 million for mortgage assistance and $1.5 million for strategies. relocation of people affected by COVID-19. The funds were among the first $20 million to be spent on more than $126 million in federal coronavirus aid, relief, and economic security (CARES Act) dollars the city has received.
Additionally, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner announced on Tuesday that the Denver Housing Authority is receiving more than $287,000 in COVID-19 response funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.