COLORADO SPRINGS — A lot of people in Colorado are struggling to pay their rent.
According to Colorado court data there were more than 50,000 eviction filings in 2023.
There are also a lot of people looking for financial aid to help them pay their rent.
“Our top three needs are always rent, utilities and food,” said Pikes Peak United Way 211 Director, Ange-Elie Jean.
The 211 call center through the Pikes Peak United Way is a referral service that includes directing people to aid services
“Through our 211 call center we always have a finger on the pulse of what is going on,” said Pikes Peak United Way, Community Impact Senior Vice President, Elizabeth Quevezo.
Call takers report what they are hearing from callers.
Their perception gets backed by data that tracks what type of assistance callers are seeking.
Calls inquiring about money for rent are high.
“It's about a third of our calls,” said Jean, “So if we take anywhere from 2000 to 3000, we will get minimum 600 calls for housing, a month.”
211 is hearing from many first-time callers, senior citizens on fixed incomes, veterans, and people who are working more than one job and still not making enough to meet their expenses.
“We try to come up with solutions because there are a lot of people that are hurting within our community,” said Jean.
For rental assistance 211 directs callers to other agencies with appropriate resources to help.
They also offer other strategies.
Many of those happen through the recently opened Family Success Center.
“Maybe it's career navigation to a better paying job, maybe it's accessing benefits so that they can use their resources in a different manner,” Quevezo.
That strategy can be through food, prescription, and utility bill assistance programs.
Money saved on those things can possibly free up dollars from someone’s budget that can then go toward their rent.
Because of the rising cost of living demand at local non-profits like the United Way is going up while at the same time donations are down because a lot of people are being more cautious with their money.
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