Three Denver housing advocates explain evictions and their effects

A home and early fall foliage in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A home and early fall foliage in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) residential real estate; house; home; lincoln park; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denverite; colorado;
A home and early fall foliage in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

On a weekly basis in Denver County, there are 163 evictions filed on average, according to Colorado Affordable Legal Services.

The effects of being displaced from home can be both wide-ranging and severe, as housing and health care advocates said in a Friday panel moderated by Tina Griego, the managing editor of The Colorado Independent.

Here’s five things they said that helps contextualize what housing insecurity looks like in Denver County. 

Who’s getting evicted?

“When you look at the individuals affected, most individuals don’t go by themselves, they have a partner. In essence, those 8,400 evictions each year in Denver County mean there are 16,000 people at risk of becoming homeless.”
–  Floyd L. Jones Jr., executive director of Colorado Affordable Legal Services

“The demographics of [those evicted in Colorado] are slightly different [than nationwide]. Primarily, we see single mothers, individuals with mental and physical disabilities, immigrants and refugees, but also brown people, black people, gay people and straight people.”
–  Jones Jr., Colorado Affordable Legal Services

How evictions ripple through Denver schools

“At the same time that we’ve seen Denver be among the hottest markets in the country, we’ve had a doubling in the number of homeless students in the city.”
– Brian Eschbacher, executive director of Planning and Enrollment Services for Denver Public Schools

“In Sun Valley, 40 percent of the students that were supposed to return to Fairview Elementary the next year in a given class did not return. So you can imagine if there’s 25 kindergartners in the class, you look to your left, you look to your right, 10 of those students were gone.”
– Eschbacher, Denver Public Schools

“It’s not just something that impacts the roughly 10,000 students that are displaced every year, it’s an impact on the student that was sitting next to them.”
– Eschbacher, Denver Public Schools

What’s the first thing to fix?

“Housing consumers are being threatened with evictions because they want to have a service animal, they may be asking for a reasonable modification to their unit, they may be expecting a child. And they’re getting thrown out of their properties or threatened with eviction. The Fair Housing Act protects individuals on that level and we need to educate people more.”
– Arturo Alvarado, executive director, Denver Metro Fair Housing Center