Maiker aims for consistency as eviction worries mount

Public housing agency outlines plans to address a worsening housing crisis

Liam Adams
ladams@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/18/21

While a federal decision to extend an eviction moratorium passed Dec. 31 offered much-needed relief, the lapse of a state moratorium and the federal moratorium’s pending deadline hasn’t eased …

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Maiker aims for consistency as eviction worries mount

Public housing agency outlines plans to address a worsening housing crisis

Posted

While a federal decision to extend an eviction moratorium passed Dec. 31 offered much-needed relief, the lapse of a state moratorium and the federal moratorium’s pending deadline hasn’t eased anxiety about evictions, according to officials from Maiker Housing.

This is where Maiker Housing Partners, Adams County’s public housing agency, and other county agencies plan to step in, according to Peter LiFari, Maiker’s executive director. Maiker helped 930 households, or 2790 people, in 2020, and it hopes to do the same this year.

The state eviction moratorium, which plugged holes in the federal moratorium, lapsed after Dec. 31 when Gov. Jared Polis didn’t extend it. For example, the state order protected tenants who pay rent month-by-month.

“The governor is trying to balance tremendous need and challenge. I would have preferred to see him extend his executive order,” LiFari said. State officials can decide to reinstate the moratorium, though.

Complications with the moratoriums add to the larger issue of peoples’ ability to pay rent. In October, Maiker closed its rental assistance application queue after a pile-up of applications. Per-month applications rose to 450, with an average wait time of four weeks, Drew O’Connor, Maiker’s deputy director told the Northglenn City Council at a Dec. 31 meeting.

“We couldn’t meet the demand that was needed in the queue. The team was moving as fast as they could, but we had so man. There was so much need in the community,” he said.

Despite that, Maiker provided $4,399 in rental assistance per household in 2020, according to data from Maiker. The money came from federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money that Adams County, Northglenn, Federal Heights, Commerce City, Westminster and Thornton allocated to Maiker.

Of those who have received support, 43 percent are Caucasian, 10 percent are Black, 10 percent are multiple races and 23 percent chose not to respond. Forty-seven percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.

LiFari and O’Connor both said that the new federal stimulus package will help, but only so much. Much of the federal funding will be for rental assistance. Meanwhile, LiFari highlighted Adams County’s partnership with Colorado Legal Services for residents at risk of eviction. Residents can apply for funding from the county to help them afford legal representation. With legal representation, tenants can reach better agreements with landlords, whether that’s wiping an eviction from someone’s housing record, preventing eviction, or developing an agreeable repayment period.

Meanwhile, Maiker will continue partnering with “organizations that have the intrinsic values and resources on the street,” LiFari said. That involves further allocating federal stimulus money to organizations like Brighton Housing Authority and Almost Home, Inc.

Further out, Maiker plans to complete the construction of affordable housing projects such as Crossing Pointe South in Thornton, The Caraway in Adams County and ALTO in Westminster.

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