Lake County has been creating a support system for every community member by making sure everyone has food and housing. In early March and April, one of the projects we developed was called the “Unmet Needs Committee.” Community members who don’t qualify for government assistance are funneled to an agency and assigned a case worker who reviews their need and brings it to a review committee. If a person is approved, then one of the agencies from that committee pays their housing and utility bills. We’re on track to pay about a half a million dollars in housing and utility bills by the end of 2020, which is a lot for a community of less than 10,000 people.
More recently, the committee has been working to get some training on how to better negotiate with landlords with the Colorado Eviction Project, a group of lawyers who donate their time to help communities across Colorado manage this landscape. We’re trying to see if we can pay two or three months’ rent in advance—at a reduced rate—to the landlords of the communities we help, providing stability for everyone and saving us money.