We partner with low income and working people to build economic and racial equity. We do this by confronting economic abuse and investing in community wealth. We use an ever-evolving set of legal, economic and advocacy tools to challenge and dismantle unjust systems, building quickly towards a world where all people have what they need to live and thrive.
The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project (CEDP) was founded in April 2020 by Zach Neumann and Sam Gilman to protect Colorado renters from eviction and displacement during the pandemic.
The project started as an all-volunteer community organizing effort to recruit lawyers and inform policy to protect renters during the pandemic.
Based on client feedback and engagement, CEDP developed a model that gives renters facing eviction a single point of contact for stability services. The program integrates intake and navigation, rapid rental aid payments, eviction legal defense, and, when necessary, rehousing support. We also focus on building policy change alongside our clients, going from case to cause. This organizing work has led to transformational renters rights legislation in 2021 (SB 173 – the Keep Coloradans Housed Act) and a Towing Bill of Rights to stop predatory nonconsensual towing in 2022.
CEDP’s services are available to all Colorado renters and are strengthened by partnerships with legal aid organizations and organizations by and for BIPOC communities to ensure resources reach those at greatest risk of displacement with deference to cultural context. At the center of CEDP’s model is the Colorado Stability Fund, which was formed through a unique partnership between CEDP, The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), and Colorado’s Division of Housing (DOH).
Since inception, the program has served 20,000 people in nearly 10,000 households, issuing more than $50 million in payments. CEDP serves more than 1,000 client households per month, with 74% of our clients identifying as BIPOC or Hispanic / Latino.
CEDP clients have pushed the organization to think more broadly about the intersectionality of housing and economic instability. CEDP is applying its model to address other economic security issues, including implementing a foreclosure prevention program in conjunction with the Treasury’s Homeownership Assistance Fund. CEDP has also launched programs related to medical and housing debt and predatory towing. This work will soon take place under a new banner, the Community Economic Defense Project, to reflect the organization’s broader mandate.