Lafayette City Council has agreed to sign an intergovernmental agreement with Boulder County to help relieve tenants of the financial burden in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the city council unanimously passed a resolution that will officially enroll the city in an agreement with Boulder County that would allow Lafayette to participate in the municipal utility bulk payment program.
The program is part of the emergency rental assistance funding provided to Boulder County by the U.S. Treasury to help alleviate financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, Boulder County received $22.1 million in ERA funding to support residents and stabilize housing for struggling tenants.
Under the program, residents with outstanding balances on their water utility bills will be able to apply for one-time financial assistance to clear the balances.
Since the start of the pandemic, the city of Lafayette has seen a 42% increase in overdue water bills.
Only tenants will be eligible to receive this funding. Additionally, to be eligible for assistance, residents must live in Boulder County, have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic, and earn less than 80% of the area’s median income for their household size.
During council’s discussion of the resolution, Councilor Stephanie Walton noted the impact this program could potentially have on the overall health of struggling residents.
“I think it’s really important to understand that we’re talking about the social determinants of health. Stability, food and water – these basic needs that people have are so important to their health. All of these are so intertwined,” Walton said.
Lafayette staff will now coordinate with Boulder County to contact and work with all eligible utility customers.