Audience member head to the ceremony during the grand opening of 74 affordable housing units at the newly restored Pancratia Hall on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Denver, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/The Denver Gazette)

Denver City Council on Monday night approved multiple contract amendments that expand the city's eviction legal resources for low- and moderate-income Denver renters.

The contract expansions extend legal defense resources through 2023 with $1.5 million from American Rescue Plan Act funding, according to a news release from the Department of Housing Stability.

The program provides free legal assistance to Denver households earning up to 80% of the area median income, including legal representation, eviction prevention advice, referrals and outreach, the release said.

The city made the move as metro Denver and the rest of the state experience an acute shortage of housing units. The Common Sense Institute puts Colorado’s housing deficit at 195,912 units, saying it could feasibly reach 514,462 units by 2031.   

“We’re working to help households remain in their homes and to prevent more of our neighbors from falling into homelessness,” HOST executive director Britta Fisher said in the release. “By expanding access to legal representation in eviction proceedings, we’re enabling people to weather life’s challenges in their community without disrupting their circles of support where they feel connected and supported.”

Modified contracts — both of which run through the end of 2023 — included one with the Colorado Poverty Law Project, adding $900,000 to create a new contract total of just over $1.3 million. The Community Firm contract also got a $600,000 ARPA fund extension for a new contract total of $984,000.

Additionally, $105,000 from local revenue funds were added to the city's Colorado Legal Services contract for a new total of just over $1.2 million.

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