Rising rent costs, paired with the end of pandemic assistance programs, could leave many local residents homeless in January, said Dayna Scott, executive director at Broomfield FISH.
At a luncheon for the organization Thursday, Scott explained that the state’s pandemic-relief rent assistance program — issued by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs — will be running out of funds entirely by December.
“When that happens, there are going to be a lot of the families who come to FISH, who maybe got $200 a month in SNAP benefits, who are now going to get $20 in SNAP benefits,” Scott told the audience at the luncheon.
The loss of the pandemic funds will make rent unaffordable for many, she said.
“The rent costs in Broomfield have actually been rising dramatically.”
The average monthly rent in Broomfield is now more than $2,000 for a 900-square-foot apartment, according to RentCafe. Around 92% of all Broomfield renters are paying more than $1,500 for their rent.
Those who rely on Broomfield FISH are currently spending more than 70% of their income on housing costs, Scott said.
While many affordable housing initiatives are underway in the city and county, some residents have relied heavily on pandemic assistance to make it through the past several years, she said.
With inflation at more than 8%, funding that’s donated to the organization doesn’t stretch as far as it used to, she said. And the cost of certain products has skyrocketed.
“We’ll just look at eggs — we used to buy them for $2 a dozen, and that was not that long ago, and now they’re at least $4 a dozen. With different things that people are purchasing, it’s actually much higher,” Scott said.
“For low-wage workers who are on a tight budget, that can make or break them.”
Food shortages are also an issue for the nonprofit, and many local organizations and community members are assisting the group through its Adopt A Shelf program.