Funding Housing Stability
The RMHS Mill Levy program is supporting the housing stability of Denver residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities or delays.
In the first half of 2020, Rocky Mountain Human Services spent twice as much as all of last year in supporting Denver residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities who need help with housing and utilities costs.
And neither the year, nor the pandemic fueling the need, are over yet.
The COVID-19 health crisis and its associated job losses and economic stagnation have resulted in unprecedented needs among the people we support. Through our Mill Levy program, which is funded by the generous support of Denver taxpayers, we have been able to respond to many of those needs. Both the number of requests and the amount RMHS has distributed are on the rise.
The combined amount spent on housing and utilities for Denver families in the first six months of 2020 is $323,957, compared to the $119,481 spent in 2019. In July 2020 alone, the amount funded was more than $92,000.
In 2019, there were 285 funded requests for housing and utilities expenses. In just the first six months of 2020, the number of funded requests ballooned to 385.
The numbers and data tell a story of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families struggling to maintain a safe and stable home. The real people behind the numbers lend humanity to the crisis.
Our Mill Levy program staff tell us that the people affected include a Syrian family who lives on the father’s income earned teaching at a Syrian language school which was shut down until the fall. They are working with a man with an intellectual disability who lives alone, and is using a cell phone that is about to be disconnected. Another family suffered a devasting car accident resulting in the death of a child and serious injuries to the mother. Because she can’t work, the family income is gone, their application for Social Security is delayed because of the pandemic, and they are about to lose their home to foreclosure.
RMHS is deeply committed to supporting housing stability for individuals and families in Denver. As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, we saw an increasing number of people out of work and struggling to make ends meet. We were meeting the needs, but the sheer volume of requests required additional resources and action.
In July 2020, RMHS entered a new short-term contract with Denver Human Services that provided an additional $464,000 to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at risk because of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Housing Stability Fund gave the RMHS Mill Levy program extra resources to continue doing its critical work without running out of money. In July and August there have been 165 requests for funding through this initiative. The requests are overwhelmingly from families who have a child under the age of 18 in their home, accounting for 118 of the 165 requests. Of the 118 families with children, a little less than half have a child age 3 or younger.
The majority of the requests are coming from individuals and families who identify as Hispanic or Latino. That aligns with the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on the Hispanic and Latino population, according to data reported by the City of Denver and Denver Public Health. The need seems to be concentrated in several hard-hit areas of Denver.
The RMHS Mill Levy program is designed to meet the needs of Denver residents with disabilities. To learn more about the RMHS Mill Levy program visit www.rmhumanservices.org/ml.
If you are a Denver resident with an intellectual or developmental disability in need of support visit www.rmhumanservices.org/housing.