Landlords in metro Denver and nonprofit team up to help renters

Downtown apartments seen from inside The Confluence Denver, Oct. 26, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Downtown apartments seen from inside The Confluence Denver, Oct. 26, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Landlords in metro Denver are donating $5,000 to help a nonprofit affordable housing developer support renters.

Nancy Burke, vice president of government affairs for the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, said her group often directs calls it gets from tenants to Colorado Housing Connects, an information and resources hotline set up by the Denver Metro Fair Housing Center and Brothers Redevelopment. Brothers housing navigators who staff the hotline are knowledgeable about evictions, tenant rights and responsibilities and other issues.

Burke’s trade organization concluded “we should help pick up” some of the cost of running the line, Burke said.

Jeff Martinez, Brothers’ president, said Burke’s group had been generous and he looked forward to the partnership growing. He said he could envision the landlords one day playing a role on the hotline in some way.

“We’re hoping to work with them to so that we can resolve situations when somebody presents with an issue related to where they’re living,” he said. “Our navigators are always working on multiple levels to find resolution.”

Burke said: “Brothers, through their helpline, they do such a great job. We’re hoping to fund them more in the future. This is a nice starting point.”

Burke said Brothers can also be a good resource for landlords. Brothers builds and manages affordable housing as well as providing other services to low-income renters and homeowners.

Brothers’ projects include the Landlords Opening Doors Campaign to recruit landlords willing to rent to people in the Colorado Choice Transitions program. The program supports elderly, blind, physically or developmentally disabled Medicaid recipients, as well as some people receiving mental health care, who are leaving facilities such as nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. Under Colorado Choice, about 70 percent of the rent is paid directly to the landlord while the tenant pays the rest.

Brothers also works with people experiencing homelessness, departing the foster care system or who are in other ways vulnerable.

“We’re working to find ways to get more (housing) units for those who need,” Martinez said.

By working together, Brothers and the apartment association can ensure both landlords and tenants are better informed, Burke said.

“That’s the goal of any good partnership,” she said.

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