One year into COVID-19 pandemic, CDHS continues to offer important services to Coloradans

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DENVER (March 8, 2021) — In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 case in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) reminds all Coloradans of the continued resources available to them. Despite the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic and its economic consequences continue to affect Coloradans. CDHS recognizes that Coloradans still urgently need support and resources and are sharing ways to apply for and get benefits and find support for individuals, children and families. Our dedicated staff has worked the past 12 months tirelessly and will continue to ensure Coloradans have the support they need as the COVID battle continues. 

Here is a list of benefits and services that CDHS continues to provide, with links and information on finding them. This includes support and resources in employment, child care, energy and food assistance, and many more. 

CDHS programs helped thousands of Coloradans in a variety of ways during the pandemic in 2020.

  • Nearly 191,000 calls and texts were made to the Colorado Crisis Services line, the state’s free, confidential hotline for substance use and mental health concerns, from March through December 2020. Calls and texts are up 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $49,945,653 was provided to families eligible for free and reduced-price school meals to purchase nutritious foods. 
  • 255,101 households, on average, received food assistance benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), with a 43% increase in average benefit amount over 2019.
  • $600,000 in grants was distributed to food banks and food pantries statewide to stock their shelves with Colorado-grown food.
  • 5,209 children of essential workers received child care through the Emergency Child Care Program at 525 child care facilities across Colorado.
  • More than 55% of Colorado child care providers were provided funding through the CARES Act intended to support costs associated with COVID-19, such as accommodating smaller group sizes, purchasing additional safety and cleaning supplies, and other needs.
  • 1.5 million meals were served to older adults in Colorado through the Area Agencies on Aging.
  • 48 deafblind consumers received a combined 3,131 hours of environmental navigating services, such as grocery shopping, basic banking, errands, social events, and more.
  • In 2020, the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, 844-CO-4-KIDS, experienced a 13% drop in calls compared to the previous year. Calls from education professionals decreased by nearly 30% and calls from medical professionals decreased by nearly 11% while calls from family and friends increased 5%.
  • County case workers processed an additional 10,000 SNAP applications compared to the previous year.

It’s OK to need support and to ask for help,” said CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes. “The far-reaching impact of COVID-19 on families was not imaginable a year ago. There is support available to you, all of you, and we urge Coloradans to get the help they need whether it is mental health services, food and energy assistance or even a ride to the doctor. And, please get your vaccine as soon as you are able to and we will get through this together!”

This is a trying time for families across the state; if you need additional resources, 2-1-1 Colorado connects Coloradans to critical resources such as housing assistance, food support, help with utility bills and more. Visit their website or dial 2-1-1 on your phone. 

Colorado Crisis Services remains open 24/7. If you don’t know where to begin getting mental health, substance use or emotional help for yourself or someone you know, text TALK to 38255 or call this toll-free number 1-844-493-TALK (8255) to speak to a trained professional.

Media contact:
Madlynn Ruble, Deputy Director of Communications