Struggling to recover from COVID chaos?
Financial relief is here
by Julie Estlick
Families and individuals in Larimer County with a household income below 80 percent of area median income who were impacted by the pandemic may be eligible for funds to pay back rent, as well as the current month’s rent, two future months’ rent, and utility assistance, according to Kelly Evans, executive director of Neighbor to Neighbor. Households with undocumented individuals also qualify, she adds.
Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) provides stable housing and helps people in northern Colorado stay in their homes through rent and mortgage assistance. Between April 2020 and April 2021, N2N distributed nearly $7.5 million in emergency rental assistance through local grants; city, county, state, and federal funding; and individual and corporate donations for households in Larimer and Weld counties.
Please note that no COVID-related mortgage assistance is available through N2N.
Steps to take now:
Landlords and individuals can apply for rent or utility help through Neighbor to Neighbor at n2n.org/rent-assistance or call 970-829-0296 to reach a client assistance coordinator.
Mortgage assistance may be available by calling Colorado Housing Connects at 1-844-926-6632 or go to coloradohousingconnects.org.
The federal American Rescue Plan expands financial help for health insurance, making health coverage offered through Connect for Health Colorado (the state health insurance marketplace) more affordable. Premium discounts and coverage is now available to state residents of all income ranges, uninsured people, those who lost coverage during the pandemic, and those currently enrolled in other individual insurance plans.
The American Rescue Plan eliminates the threshold for household income eligibility for subsidies and caps the amount of income you have to pay for premiums at 8.5 percent of household income. In addition, anyone who has received at least one week of unemployment benefits beginning in 2021 may qualify for $0 or low-cost premium options for the remainder of the year.
“With the American Rescue Plan, we’re able to provide relief to many more families who are figuring out their health insurance options at a time when the need for coverage has never been greater,” says Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado.
Enrollment is open until at least Sunday, August 15. Coverage for all plans begins the first day of the month following plan selection.
Colorado is NOT auto-adjusting the accounts of those who currently purchase their insurance through Connect for Health Colorado. Customers must log in to their accounts to confirm or update their information in order to receive any premium reductions they may be due; otherwise, any savings would come to them in lump sum payments when filing their 2021 taxes.
Steps to take now:
Go to Connect for Health Colorado—connectforhealthco.com—to learn more and to update your account.
Call Larimer Health Connect at 970-472-0444 to schedule a free appointment with a health coverage guide to get your questions answered and review all of your options.
Small business help
Larimer County small businesses still have several options for getting financial assistance to weather the long-term effects of the pandemic.
Colorado Loans to Increase Mainstreet Business Economic Recovery (CLIMBER) is a new statewide loan fund that will provide up to $250 million in working capital to small businesses through 2023. It is a public-private partnership with banks and other funders across the state.
Loans of up to $500,000 will be available with below-market interest rates to businesses with 5 to 99 employees that were negatively impacted by COVID-19.
An excellent local resource for small businesses is nocorecovers.com. It is the one-stop shop for the latest information on all the potential COVID-19 funding sources available.
Steps to take now:
Small businesses can find a participating CLIMBER lender at climber-colorado.com.