GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
450,000 Coloradans are estimated to be evicted by September, and Eric is one of them. “I moved in on Friday, and by Monday I had no job,” says Eric Smith.
When Colorado stayed at home on March 16th through the governor’s Executive Order, this gig worker was out of work, everywhere. Smith says, “I can’t DJ, can’t do events, can’t do concerts. I didn’t have money to pay rent like so many people around the world. I mean, it’s like 440,000 people in Colorado alone that are in this same position.”
Eric was forced to leave his home by court order and the Sheriff’s Office assisted in Eric’s eviction, but he’s not the only one evicted, his kids are too. “My daughter has Down Syndrome. So, she’s very confused, and you can’t really explain it to her, and my oldest son is here. He called his mother who drove down from Rifle to try and get his stuff, his turtle, and all this stuff. I didn’t get the chance to pack clothes, toiletries, anything. When they do this, it’s, “you get off the property”, and they move your stuff,” says Smith.
Tenants are required to receive a 30 day eviction notice, but that ends August 12th because on August 13th, it goes back to 10 days. Catholic Outreach Financial Aid Director, Scott Montgomery has helped a lot of people facing eviction “I would say that about half the people we help in financial aid here, need help with rent,” says Montgomery.
During those 30 days or 10 days renters can come to Catholic Outreach if you need help because they’ve opened their hearts, they’ve opened their doors, and most importantly, they’ve opened their wallets. Scott says, “It’s based upon their income, and the amount of their monthly rent. As well as whether they’ve received any other sort of assistance like unemployment insurance, or help from other social service agencies.”
This tough time has actually inspired Eric to pursue a career in private investigation, and Eric knows who his true friends are because many have helped him move, including the mover that evicted him. Eric says, “His name is Eric too, and after he moved us out of the house, he came back, and helped me load the truck because he felt bad.”
The final lesson Eric has learned from this eviction process especially, during the Coronavirus pandemic. Eric says, “It boils down to the rich get richer until the poor get educated.”
If you need rental assistance, or other assistance with your utilities, call the Grand Valley Catholic Outreach at 970 241-3658 extension 102. Or, you can walk in the building, just go to Catholic Outreach Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. at 245 South 1st Street. Bring your lease, your identification, your warning, and your proof of income, if you have any.
You can also find resources for assistance by visiting here, or dialing 211.