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Denver Has New Plan To Help Renters Facing Eviction

By Karen Morfitt

(CBS4) - With Denver's skyrocketing real estate, more and more people are finding themselves forced out of their homes. In some cases, that means eviction.

After raising more than $100,000, Denver's city council is preparing to launch a pilot program giving the city's most vulnerable access to attorneys.

"I have hit the jackpot I've hit the lotto with this," Lori Malone said about her apartment off Colfax.

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If anyone can appreciate having a roof over their head, Lori Malone can because for years she didn't have one.

"It was scary. I had lost my job and I really didn't know where I was going to go," she said.

After losing her father, then her job, Malone was evicted.

"I was ashamed obviously, and it's a very embarrassing shameful type of thing to happen," Malone said.

Denver's skyrocketing rent, paired with that black mark on her record, meant years of living as a transient for Malone.

Denver City And County Building
(credit: CBS)

"If you've been evicted within the last three to five years, you're not going to get a place," she said.

Stories like hers are why Denver city councilman Paul Kashmann says council members plan to launch an eviction defense program.

"As we all know the cost of living in Denver continues to skyrocket and a lot of good people are simply unable to make their bills," he said.

The program would give tenants facing eviction access to an attorney, in turn giving them a better chance at keeping their home and keeping an eviction from tainting their record.

"The goal is to balance the playing field a little bit," Kashmann said.

(credit: CBS)

Together council members pooled approximately $120,000 in donations to fund the pilot program.

The money will end up helping around 200 people facing eviction in Denver.

"Nobody is immune, because you don't know what's going to happen," Malone said.

Malone was finally able to get into the place she has now thanks to the help of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

The eviction defense program isn't expected to start taking clients until it launches in the spring.

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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