Denver, CO

Former homeless coalition CEO endorses Johnston for Denver mayor

David Heitz
Mike Johnston, candidate for Denver mayor, participates in a forum sponsored by Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and other organizations.Photo byColorado Coalition for the Homeless

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) John Parvensky, the former CEO of Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, has endorsed Mike Johnston for Denver mayor.

Parvensky made the announcement on LinkedIn. He said Johnston’s opponent, Kelly Brough, has “had many chances to prove her commitment to real solutions to homelessness as (former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s) chief of staff and CEO of Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. Her record shows neglect and indifference. She favors business over people.”

Neither Johnston nor Brough offer many specifics about their homelessness plans, Parvensky wrote in the endorsement, but Johnston “recognizes the importance of addressing the immediate need of shelter alternatives, and the need to build new housing for those experiencing homelessness, and the need for enhanced health and supportive services for those on the streets.”

Johnston’s dream of ‘micro-communities’

Johnston wants to build 20 micro-communities “to end unsheltered homelessness in my first term,” he vows on his website. “In my first four years as mayor, I pledge to build 1,400 additional units of housing for unsheltered individuals.”

Brough has said while her plan is light on specifics, she won’t promise something she can’t deliver. Her plan calls for better data about homelessness, improved shelters, and a regional approach to creating more supportive housing units, according to her website. She said more of an emphasis needs to be placed on keeping people from becoming homeless in the first place.
Denver mayoral candidate Kelly Brough participates in a recent candidate's forum.Photo byColorado Coalition for the Homeless

Parvensky: The proof is in Proposition 123

Parvensky said Johnston’s leadership in getting proposition 123 passed by voters last year shows that “he understands the issues, the need to dedicate additional funding and has the experience to get things done.” Proposition 123 set aside $300 million per year for housing and homelessness.

“I have heard many say there is not much difference between these two candidates, and that it is time for a woman to be Denver’s mayor,” Parvensky wrote in the endorsement. “While nothing would please me more than having a woman achieve this role, this is not the right woman or the right time. The stakes are simply too high.”

Parvensky's endorsement is his personally. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has not endorsed anyone.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California 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 proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. 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 in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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