The Lake County Unmet Needs Committee (UNC) is a collaborative of Lake County nonprofits and government agencies formed in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception, the committee has fundraised and dispersed more than $320,000 towards housing costs and other essential bills for Lake County residents that have experienced COVID-19 related hardships.
Funds have been awarded to the committee from statewide and regional funders including The Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, The Governor’s COVID Relief Fund, The Vail Valley Foundation, The Summit Foundation, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, and Tony Grampsas Youth Services. In September, the city and county also voted to allocate CARES Act funds to support the committee.
Based on the UNC’s current understanding of the recovery timeline from the pandemic and to align with other successful national models, the UNC will modify its application process in October. Residents will now be able to apply for multiple months of rent assistance through the end of 2020. Payments can either be applied to past due or future rent. Landlords who wish to participate in the program will receive a negotiated payment from the UNC on behalf of the tenant.
According to Lake County Build a Generation Director of Coalition Development Noah Sosin, this shift will help remove uncertainty for landlords as they will receive one lump sum for multiple months rent, provide more housing stability for Lake County residents who have been impacted by COVID-19, and allow the UNC funds to support more households as our community recovers from the pandemic.
To support these new elements of UNC’s existing program, the committee is partnering with the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP), a Colorado-based team of lawyers and housing policy analysts committed to housing stability and the prevention of homelessness during the pandemic. The collaboration will be the CEDP’s first county-level partnership. Both the UNC and the CEDP teams are hopeful for the results that this partnership will garner, Sosin said.
To participate in the program as a tenant, call Full Circle of Lake County case managers Karla Adler or Melody Nichols. Adler can be reached at 719-286-0042; Nichols can be reached at 719-286-0414.
To participate in the program as a landlord, or to refer tenants who are behind or unable to pay rent, contact Sosin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Expectations from funders and the amount of money remaining in the UNC fund require the committee to continually evaluate and make changes to the process.
Donations to the UNC can be made to the Lake County Community Fund’s Disaster Relief Fund, Full Circle of Lake County, or Lake County Build a Generation. Specify that the donation is for UNC and 100% of all donations will go to households in need.