The Denver Housing Authority suspends evictions for non-payment of rent and minor lease violations

The new rules are supposed to help tenants in the age of the coronavirus.

Public housing run by Denver Housing Authority in  Sun Valley, Sept. 12, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Public housing run by Denver Housing Authority in Sun Valley, Sept. 12, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Denver Housing Authority has suspended evictions for non-payment of rent and minor lease violations.

Late fees also have been suspended, according to a statement on the DHA web site about its response to the new coronavirus that said the measures were effective Monday until further notice.

Mayor Michael Hancock announced Monday that sheriff deputies would be deployed “away from evictions” amid concerns about the economic impact of the new coronavirus.

DHA has also closed on-site management offices indefinitely in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are trying to minimize the number of contacts,” DHA spokeswoman Stella Madrid said.

She said the offices, usually open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., were closed Friday at 2 p.m. for a deep cleaning. This week, while offices remain closed, managers and maintenance staff have been visiting the buildings, and office phones have been forwarded to managers’ mobile phones, Madrid said.

A sign posted at DHA’s Thomas Bean Towers in Five Points informed residents of the closures and said, “It is important to us that you do not feel abandoned at this time.”

According to the sign, managers and maintenance staff would visit DHA buildings at least every other day “to maintain cleanliness” and would respond to emergency maintenance issues. Residents were asked to discourage “unnecessary” visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Madrid said community centers at the buildings also had been closed and that visits from organizations that distribute food aid had been temporarily suspended. Food distributions were made last week and were expected to resume this week, she said, adding that 9,900 DHA households at 20 sites are supported by food aid annually.

Angela Fletcher, DHA’s director of housing management, said Tuesday that it was not clear when normal office operations would resume.

“At this point we’re going to reassess in the next day or two,” Fletcher said.

DHA owns some 4,800 housing units, most of them in public housing buildings subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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