The holiday season is a time to gather with loved ones, share festive cheer, and create cherished memories. But for many, the financial burden of the holidays can cast a shadow over this joyous period.
Amid the hustle and bustle of gift-giving and holiday celebrations, it can be easy to overlook a looming rent date. If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet during this time, it’s important not to panic. There are several resources and strategies available to help you navigate challenging financial situations.
To provide expert guidance, Colorado Housing Connects (1-844-926-6632) Program Director Patrick Noonan answered common questions on managing rent payments during the holiday season. Here’s what he had to say.
With the holiday season approaching, many people may find themselves facing financial challenges. In your experience, what are some common reasons people struggle to pay their rent during this time?
After the holidays, it is common for us to hear from more people in need of help. There is a lot of pressure for families to spend more money around the holidays on gifts, food, and travel. Our clients also report earning less because they may lose hours at work during the holidays. It is tempting to spend on holiday expenses and want to figure it out later. However, too many people get burnt this way and find themselves struggling to make rent in January.
There are a number of things people can do to avoid this pitfall. For example, there are holiday food and toy drives that can help avoid overspending. There are also resources that can help with saving on other expenses like internet. If you can’t find ways to cut on holiday expenses, it can be helpful to figure out ways to increase your income during this time. Seasonal or gig work could be a good option. For resources to help with food and toy drives, low-cost internet programs, or workforce support, don’t hesitate to reach out to speak with one of our housing navigators or search on https://www.211colorado.org/.
If someone realizes they won’t be able to pay their rent, what are the first steps they should take in seeking assistance?
If someone is worried about paying their rent, they need to reach out for help as soon as possible. While financial assistance can be limited, it is critical that they explore their options immediately. Clients can find relief by seeking rental or utility assistance, working with a tenant-landlord mediator, learning about their rights through an eviction prevention legal workshop, or by seeking legal services. Clients can learn more by reaching out through our website https://coloradohousingconnects.org/renters-im-facing-eviction-and-need-help-with-my-rent/ or calling us at 844-926-6632.
How important is it for individuals to communicate with their landlords about their financial difficulties?
A landlord is much more likely to work with a tenant experiencing a hardship when the tenant proactively communicates with the landlord. The earlier on a tenant starts this conversation, the more time they will have to work with their landlord on a resolution. Some tenants are able to negotiate a payment plan. If a tenant needs help communicating with their landlord, Brothers Redevelopment can provide free mediation in Adams and Denver Counties. Tenants in other counties that receiving certain public benefits may also be entitled to free tenant-landlord mediation.
In situations where individuals are facing possible eviction, what legal considerations should they be aware of?
It is important for tenants to know they have rights throughout the eviction process. If you receive a notice that your landlord is starting the eviction process it doesn’t mean that you need to move out right away. Take a deep breath and take some time to understand your rights. Consider attending one of our monthly eviction prevention workshops or seek legal aid.
What role does Colorado Housing Connects play in providing support to those struggling with rent payments?
Colorado Housing Connects can help point people to rent and utility assistance programs that may support those struggling to make ends meet. These resources change regularly, so it is important to reach out to get the latest information on what might be available. We offer support through tenant-landlord mediation in Adams and Denver Counties. You can also attend one of our monthly eviction prevention legal workshops. There are also a bunch of other resources available that our navigators can refer you to so you can meet your basic needs and breathe easier.
Beyond immediate assistance, what advice do you have for individuals to work towards more sustainable, long-term solutions for their housing and financial stability?
If you’re worried about affording your rent on an ongoing basis, we host regular affordable housing search workshops. We’ll talk about resources like subsidized housing, tax credit housing, affordable homeownership programs, and home sharing among other things. You can also meet with one of our housing counselors to assess your situation and learn what might be the best fit for you.
What final words of advice or encouragement would you like to share with individuals facing difficulty paying rent?
It can be natural to panic or shutdown. It is important to take a deep breath and reach out for help. There are a number of things someone can do to avoid an eviction. Our navigators are happy to help you discuss your options.