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.
CEDP was founded as The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project in April 2020 by Zach Neumann and Sam Gilman as an all-volunteer community organizing effort to protect Colorado renters from eviction and displacement during the coronavirus pandemic.
Based on client feedback and engagement, CEDP developed a model that gave renters facing eviction a single point of contact for stability services. The program integrated intake and navigation, rapid rental aid payments, eviction legal defense, and, when necessary, rehousing support. During the pandemic, this model served over 31,000 people and disbursed over $100 million in rental assistance.
At the same time, CEDP drafted and passed transformational laws that expanded renters’ rights and dramatically curtailed predatory towing. The team also worked closely with members of the legislature to pass statewide laws strengthening the rights of mobile home park residents, establishing a fair housing unit within the office of Colorado’s Attorney General, holding overreaching homeowner’s associations accountable, and various measures designed to protect community wealth.
As the organization has grown and evolved, our clients have pushed us to think more broadly about the intersectionality of housing and economic instability. Under this expanded mandate, our work now takes place under a new banner: the Community Economic Defense Project.
CEDP’s scope now encompasses a fully-integrated response to economic hardship and innovative service delivery models. This means our work has expanded far beyond eviction defense as we advocate for rights for mobile home residents, directly prevent homelessness through diversion efforts, offer foreclosure and HOA defense services, take on predatory consumer and medical debt, and defend and provide aid to victims of non-consensual towing.