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Shelter and Emergency Services Policies for the City and County of Denver Spring 2016

March 4, 2016


• The City works with shelters to ensure those who are homeless can find a safe place to stay, and we are

projected to spend $47 million this year on dozens of direct and indirect costs related to homelessness.

• To date, no shelter has turned away any homeless person wanting to enter. Shelters are providing beds and

mats to as many as 1,500 people per night, with Denver Rescue Mission’s downtown shelter and overflow

facility in Northeast Denver still operating at 79 percent of capacity.

• Unfortunately, a number of homeless individuals continue to camp outside the Samaritan House and Denver

Rescue Mission shelters. The majority of those individuals refuse services, including shelters.

• Since September, employees from multiple city agencies have connected more than 650 people outside and

inside these shelters with medical, food, bus passes, housing, mental health and other services.

• Even with this increased outreach and the opening of the Lawrence Street Community Center, which is serving

about 900 people per day, this unsafe, unhealthy, unsanitary and inhumane situation continues. People are

still sleeping outside, even in the cold, and items continue to pile up on sidewalks.

• The Department of Public Works has been on site three days a week to remove the considerable trash

accumulating in the area and to power-wash sidewalks (when weather appropriate). In January, PW increased

trash removal and sidewalk cleaning to five days a week.

• Beginning this month, the city will take the following actions to protect people, maintain public health, and

respond to mounting concerns from nearby residents and businesses:

o Post information – Public Works will post information around the area advising that public spaces must

o Continue to connect people to services – Outreach teams will continue to connect individuals with

o Enact temporary storage for impacted individuals – The city will temporarily store items left behind on

o Place 250 chronic homeless individuals into permanent supportive housing – Earlier this year, the City

o Give a Better Way relaunch – In response to the growing number of drive-by curbside drop offs of food

o Pilot Employment Program – The city is planning to launch a jobs program this spring/summer that

• The safest, most sanitary and dignified place for people experiencing homelessness is indoors. Without the

stability of a place to sleep each night, it is very difficult to achieve self-sufficiency. Anyone needing shelter

services is urged to contact the Mile High United Way at 2-1-1, or if it is an emergency, such as in bitter cold

weather, call 9-1-1.

remain free of obstruction. The same information will be distributed to people encamped on the public

right of way. People will be strongly encouraged to seek shelter and services and not leave items behind.

services. Those who continue to violate city codes will receive a verbal warning. Subsequent encounters

with the same individuals who remain in violation of city codes will result in progressive punishment.

the sidewalk for up to 30 days.

launched an innovative Social Impact Bond Program that will help transition people living on the streets

into housing and services.

and other items to the homeless, the city will begin a renewed push around better ways to give.

would provide opportunities for homeless individuals to work for city departments.

One Comment leave one →
  1. paula rhoads permalink
    March 4, 2016 8:19 pm

    I do not understand why vacant brick buildings owned by the public cannot be used to provide housing. Like Rosedale elementary, baker elementary in wheat ridge, others. Boarded up, waiting demo?

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