The Colorado Judicial Branch opened applications last week for its 2022 Eviction Legal Defense Fund grants, an initiative that funds programs that provide legal assistance for people facing eviction.

For this round, $1.55 million in grants will be awarded to numerous applicants, the Colorado Judicial Branch said.

The grant program was established in 2019 by the Colorado General Assembly to help people who are experiencing eviction or at risk of eviction get free legal services.

This round of grants comes as the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire by July 31, clearing the way for the eviction of tenants unable to pay rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado’s state eviction moratorium expired in December.

Even with the federal and state eviction moratoriums, nearly 4,000 evictions were filed in Denver in 2020, 90% of which resulted in the tenants being evicted. In those cases, 95% of landlords had legal representation while only 1% of tenants did, according to Denver County Court data.

Grant applicants must be nonprofit organizations that serve the legal needs of people at risk of or experiencing eviction.

Organizations should provide full legal services, including representation in forcible entry and detainer proceedings, action for monetary damages or other lease violations, legal assistance before the filing of an eviction and any other judicial actions necessary to protect the interests of a tenant.

Grants will be awarded based on factors such as the number of clients an applicant program has served in the past year and the location of service, the Colorado Judicial Branch said.

Applications are due by July 15 at 5 p.m. The application form is available here.

Applications and questions should be sent to EvictionLegalDefenseFund@judicial.state.co.us.

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