Colorado’s 4th Judicial District (El Paso and Teller counties) will soon launch an eviction diversion program in the El Paso County Court with a grant from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).
The program is designed to provide landlords and tenants with a dispute-resolution process other than court-filed eviction and to help tenants find housing post-eviction when court action is warranted. The program will refer evicted tenants to appropriate community resources to help them avoid future evictions, and will include an effort to keep evicted children in their home schools.
The $309,357 grant will fund two positions to execute the program and help the 4thJudicial District form partnerships with legal, financial, and social-service providers to offer alternative solutions to housing problems and promote housing and financial stability.
“Courts have evolved in recent years from being arbiters of one-time disputes to instead being a forum for long-term problem solving and change-of-life solutions. We have had excellent results with problem-solving courts such as Veterans Trauma Court and Domestic Violence Court. Evictions should be no different. The Court is in a position to connect people with meaningful help,” said Magistrate Andrea Paprzycki, who conceived and will manage the program. “It presents a bottom-up solution to the housing crisis by creating a wide net of helping hands that can help prevent evictions in the first place and restore evicted people to a position of stability.”
Magistrate Paprzycki, whose division is responsible for all eviction cases in El Paso County – which represents 15 percent of all Colorado eviction cases – said 22 community partners representing a wide variety of services have committed to working with the court on the program, and the court intends to pursue additional partners.
The NCSC Eviction Diversion Initiative obtained a grant in 2021 to strengthen eviction diversion efforts in state courts and improve housing stability. During the past year, the initiative enabled courts in Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia to hire dedicated staff and create eviction diversion programs to connect landlords and tenants with resources that can prevent or mitigate the harm of eviction.
The 4th Judicial District is one of 10 jurisdictions nationwide awarded a total of more than $2 million in 2023 to create eviction-diversion programs. For more information on the NCSC grant program, visit https://www.ncsc.org/evictiondiversion.