Visit the Nederland Community Center on Highway 72 and you might run into an unexpected neighbor: EFAA!
Over 10% of people living in the Peak to Peak region live below the federal poverty level, and 16% live in households earning under $25,000 per year. Low incomes are further exacerbated by fewer resources and additional barriers to accessing services that are unique to rural communities. In 2016, EFAA expanded its service area to better meet the needs of Boulder County’s mountain residents, and in 2019 extended the Mountain Resource Liaison to a full-time position to meet the high demand for services.
Kristi Venditti, a mountain resident for nearly 20 years, has served as EFAA’s Mountain Resource Liaison since the beginning, and feels grateful to be able to help people directly in her own community. Kristi helps mountain residents access the same basic needs services EFAA provides in Boulder, but sometimes these services need to be adapted to meet the unique needs of the community. “Someone might need firewood or propane to heat their home,” said Kristi, which looks different than a traditional utility bill. With less transportation options available for those who are elderly, disabled, or without a car, Kristi makes home visits on request to minimize the barriers and get people the help they need. “We have to think outside of the box all of the time,” said Kristi. These are just a few ways EFAA is adapting to ensure quality services are available to all under-resourced and economically disadvantaged Boulder County residents.
In order to amplify impact, EFAA partners with local agencies and government serving the Peak to Peak region such as the Area Agency on Aging, Boulder County Housing and Human Services, Canyon Cares, Center for People with Disabilities, Nederland Community Presbyterian Church, Nederland Food Pantry, Teens, Inc. and more. EFAA is part of the Peak to Peak Housing and Human Services Alliance in addition to other community groups and coalitions.
Since 2016, EFAA has helped over 400 mountain residents meet their basic needs. In May of 2018, EFAA expanded its Keep Families Housed multi-month rental assistance program to the mountain communities which has since helped nearly 50 mountain families avoid homelessness, an expansion made possible thanks to support from The Colorado Health Foundation. For EFAA, this is just the beginning of making sure all people in our community have the resources they need to thrive.