Denver, CO

Denver to fund homeless encampment outreach

David Heitz
Photo byDenver Homeless Out Loud

The Denver City Council will pump $175,430 Monday into two programs intended to sweep homeless encampments off the streets and get people housed.

The money will pay for the Denver Street Outreach Collaborative (DSOC) and Strategic Outreach to Large Encampments (SOLE) programs. The collaborative provides outreach and engagement services, as well as intensive, housing-focused case management services to youth and adults experiencing homelessness in Denver. The program focuses on those who are chronically homeless, disconnected from facility-based programming, and in encampment settings. Case management services include connecting clients to OneHome and helping to
collect documents needed to complete housing applications. SOLE provides outreach to residents of large encampments. Officials meet with residents prior to the sweeps and notify them of the coming action.

In 2022, DSOC and SOLE made more than 21,000 contacts with 2,354 unique people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, ultimately resulting in 284 people being housed and an additional 291 persons coming off the street (exiting unsanctioned camping though not to permanent housing).

“DSOC/SOLE works to remove barriers to housing by including an RN and Licensed Behavioral Health Navigation to the outreach activities,” according to a memo from city staff to City Council. “These licensed health care providers enable vital services to be delivered where people are
at: on the street or other places of engagement.”

Outreach workers will be on the street from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and one Saturday per month from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will provide city staff with an on-call number to be utilized for outreach response. Days and hours of operation may be extended during cold and other weather emergencies.

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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. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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