Help available for food, housing, business, personal needs amid COVID-19

Long list of resources for pandemic needs in Colorado

Ellis Arnold
earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/2/20

Maybe you’ve lost your family’s child care. Maybe you barely broke even this month. Maybe you’re on the verge of having to fend for yourself on the street.

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Help available for food, housing, business, personal needs amid COVID-19

Long list of resources for pandemic needs in Colorado

Posted

Maybe you’ve lost your family’s child care. Maybe you barely broke even this month. Maybe you’re on the verge of having to fend for yourself on the street.

Maybe you’re a business owner, fighting to keep your doors open for your workers.

Or maybe you’re an older adult, isolated and unsure of where to turn for help picking up groceries or your prescriptions.

The coronavirus pandemic has been raging through Colorado for nearly five months, but there are still people, nonprofits, government programs and other information that can help you make it through.

Here is a list of links where you can get help.

Rent, mortgage assistance, eviction help

A program to help Coloradans make their rent and mortgage payments launched in mid-July.

Colorado's Property Owner Preservation program resulted from state House Bill 20-1410, a recently signed act that provides $20 million in direct rental and mortgage assistance to Coloradans experiencing financial need, including $350,000 for legal aid for renters at risk of eviction.

Landlords and property owners can apply for assistance on behalf of multiple tenants, and tenants can also apply for assistance on their own. Visit this site or call 303-864-7810 for the steps to apply.

If you’re facing eviction, other resources that may help you are located here and here.

Counties and municipalities may still be offering financial and other assistance as well. Contact your city, town or county government for more information.

Find other housing and low-income assistance here.

Food assistance

Hunger Free Colorado, a statewide nonprofit, works to keep food access information up to date for communities across Colorado. Hunger Free offers a food resource hotline to help individuals and families access food, according to 2-1-1 Colorado, the statewide resource system for people in need.

Find food resources on Hunger Free's website or call the hotline at 855-855-4626 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For food pantries and other resources, see here.

School district-provided meals

Chalkbeat, a nonprofit education news organization, maintains a list of locations where school districts provided meals during the spring school closures due to the pandemic.

Many districts offer summer meal programs as well. Contact your student’s district for information.

For older adults

A Little Help, a Colorado nonprofit, serves older adults. The organization equipped background-checked, pre-screened volunteers to grocery shop, pick up prescriptions and run other essential errands for older adults, according to one of Colorado’s COVID-19 resource webpages.

Regular “care calls” to older adults for social connection, health and safety checks, snow shoveling, and yard chores are also among the nonprofit’s services — while practicing social distancing to minimize risk, according to the webpage.

A Little Help has operations from metro Denver to northern Colorado and in the Roaring Fork Valley, according to the page. Visit its website or call 720-242-9032 in metro Denver, 970-404-1923 in the Roaring Fork Valley or 970-412-9396 in northern Colorado.

Child care

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program helps families that are homeless, working, searching for work or in school to find low-income child care assistance.

Each county's human services department help manage the program, according to the Colorado Office of Early Childhood. Each county sets eligibility requirements but must help families that have income of 185% or less of the federal poverty guideline.

You can learn about applying for assistance here.

See other information for children and families here.

Paying utilities

Comcast is offering new, low-income customers two months of free internet, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, Xcel Energy will not disconnect service to any residential customers until further notice, according to its website.

Individuals having difficulty paying bills are encouraged to contact Xcel’s customer service center to arrange a payment plan that works for them.

In response to the pandemic, a nonprofit organization called Energy Outreach Colorado has increased the number of times individuals can access assistance to help pay utility bills, according to 2-1-1 Colorado.

See Energy Outreach Colorado's website or call 1-866-432-8435.

See more information on 2-1-1 Colorado's website.

Health insurance

Coloradans who experience “a life-changing event” — such as losing job-based coverage, moving, getting married or having a baby — are eligible for a special enrollment period. That’s a 60-day window to buy or change health care plans, according to Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official health insurance marketplace.

See more information here.

If you qualify for Medicaid, you can enroll any time of year, whether you qualify for a special enrollment period or not.

To apply for Medicaid or the Child Health Plan Plus, visit this site or call 2-1-1.

Business help

The Energize Colorado Gap Fund will provide more than $25 million in small-business loans and grants. Sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 25 full-time employees can apply for up to a $15,000 grant and a $20,000 loan for a possible combined total of $35,000 in assistance. 

The application was to launch in early August, according to Energize Colorado’s website.

All eligible Colorado-based micro and small businesses may apply, but priority will be given to applicants that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous people, other people of color, veterans, or women — or businesses in rural areas.

Those in the tourism sector and those with limited or no access to capital financing or other federal, state or local grants or loans will also be prioritized.

Under the program, rural areas are defined as follows:

• A county with a population of fewer than 50,000 people.

• A municipality with a population of fewer than 50,000 people that is located 10 miles or more from a municipality with a population of more than 50,000 people.

• The unincorporated part of a county — meaning not in a city or town — located 10 miles or more from a municipality with a population of more than 50,000 people.

Those that have not been successful in pursuing or receiving funds from other federal, state and local assistance programs such as the federal Paycheck Protection Program are eligible to apply.

Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado legislature designated a $20 million grant from the federal CARES Act funding to distribute alongside $5 million in loans from private donors and other state funds to help Colorado’s micro- and small-business owners, Energize Colorado’s website says.

Find other business assistance at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s website.

Counties and municipalities may be offering financial assistance for businesses as well. Contact your city, town or county government for more information.

Rural businesses, housing

Residents of rural areas may find housing and business assistance here on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website.

For those who lost jobs

An organization called One Fair Wage provides cash assistance to restaurant workers, delivery drivers, drivers for Uber or Lyft, personal service workers, and other gig and hourly workers.

Applications for assistance continue to outpace donations, the organization’s website says, and donations are encouraged. See more information here.

Coloradans can file a claim for unemployment assistance on the state’s website. For questions, use the website’s automated chat function or call the following numbers from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday:

• In metro Denver: 303-318-9000 or toll-free at 1-800-388-5515.

• Metro Denver, Spanish: 303-318-9333 or toll-free at 1-866-422-0402.

• Deaf and hard of hearing (TTD) metro Denver: 303-318-9016 or toll-free at 1-800-894-7730.

You can also find resources, training and job-search assistance at the website for OnwardCO. That’s a partnership between companies, foundations and state agencies to help Colorado workers affected by the pandemic get back on their feet.

Homelessness

If you’re experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, 2-1-1 Colorado offers information that includes:

• Housing payment resources.

• Motel vouchers.

• Emergency shelters, including specific locations for youth, domestic-violence survivors and for extreme weather.

• Low-income and subsidized housing resources, including Section 8 housing choice vouchers.

• Supportive housing resources, including for assisted living, permanent supportive housing and transitional housing.

See more here, call 2-1-1 or (866) 760-6489 toll-free, or text your ZIP code to 898-211.

The nonprofit Colorado Coalition for the Homeless offers health care and housing resources. Its website lists pharmacy refills, mental health, a dental clinic, eye clinic and psychiatry as services.

You can reach the nonprofit’s Stout Street Health Center, at 2130 Stout St. in the downtown Denver area, at 303-293-2220.

See other resources on the coalition's website.

Mental health

Colorado Crisis Services provides free, confidential, professional and immediate support for any mental health, substance use or emotional concern — 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, according to a state COVID-19 resource list.  

Call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. You can learn more here. Colorado Crisis Services is a program of the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Behavioral Health.

Colorado Wellness Recovery is a mental wellness and addiction recovery guide. It is a free resource for Coloradans considering recovery, according to the state’s list.

Local resources

Counties and municipalities may still be offering financial and other assistance as well. Contact your city, town or county government for more information.

For resources via Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder and Denver counties; United Way of Larimer County; Pikes Peak United Way, serving 12 counties in southern Colorado; Southwest Colorado Disaster Assistance; or United Way of Weld County, see 2-1-1 Colorado's site.

Other resources

See more programs in general at the state's resource list.

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