Denver, CO

Denver houses 143 homeless people in 49 days

David Heitz
Mihaly Koles/Unsplash

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is seeing success in his goal to house 200 homeless people in 100 days.

As of Wednesday, 143 people had been housed in just 49 days, according to a news release. “At one day shy of the midway point of a 100-day goal to house 200 individuals, the City and County of Denver is tracking to far exceed its goal.”

City Councilman Chris Hinds posted the victory on his Facebook page. “The Department of Housing Stability and Mayor Hancock’s initiative to house 200 people in 100 days is well on its way to meeting its goal.”

Half come from shelters; half come from street

Hancock and the Department of Housing Stability last month launched the effort. “The housing surge expedites the city’s work with partners to connect 100 people from shelters and 100 people living on the streets with housing,” according to the news release.

“With dozens of community partners working in alignment toward a shared goal, we’re clearly gaining momentum through this housing surge, and we’ll build on this effort with future surge initiatives that continue to lift people out of homelessness,” Mayor Hancock said in a statement.

Federal housing vouchers available

Across the country, communities have used housing surges in recent weeks to get large numbers of homeless people off the streets. Federal money has been funneled to Denver and other cities for housing and local governments are chipping in from their own budgets.

“New emergency housing vouchers were made available through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds in the American Rescue Plan Act to the Denver Housing Authority,” according to the news release. “The housing surge will be accomplished, in part, using these housing vouchers, and the city will also work with rapid resolution, rapid rehousing, and permanent supportive housing providers to reach our goal.”

In a statement, director of Housing Stability Britta Fisher lauded the cooperative spirit of the agencies, which are working together to house so many. “It takes a community response to resolve episodes of homelessness, and we’re grateful for the incredible work underway by our many partners. There are positive lessons to be learned from this approach, and we’re continuing to sharpen the tools in our toolbox of programs, services and collaboration to make a difference for our unhoused neighbors.”

Homeless people being plucked off streets

Involved agencies include Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver Housing Authority, Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, Community Solutions, and Homebase. “The city also is leveraging the voter-approved Homelessness Resolution Fund to expand an existing contract with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to provide housing units from their own portfolio and to help identify private landlords willing to participate,” according to the news release. “The housing surge is part of Mayor Hancock’s economic recovery package.”

Social workers are finding people to house via street outreach teams and visits to the temporary shelters.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

Denver, CO

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