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Denver's Road Home Announces New Solutions Center to Help the Homeless Move Toward Recovery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DENVER – Nov. 6, 2014 – Denver’s Road Home today announced plans for a new Solutions Center that will provide short-term behavioral and mental health, chemical dependency, housing and other services to help stabilize homeless and other individuals. The facility would then connect individuals to longer-term resources and treatment programs.

The Solutions Center will serve as a referral-only resource for police, medics, behavioral health professionals, and other first-responders seeking support for individuals who are in crisis and might otherwise receive no help or be taken inappropriately to jail or a hospital emergency department.

“After considerable work to identify the specific needs of Denver’s homeless population, we know the Solutions Center will fill a large gap within the wide spectrum of services the city and our critical community partners provide,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Modeled after a successful facility in Seattle, we believe the Solutions Center will appropriately connect individuals to short- and long-term solutions.”

After working diligently for more than a year, including reviewing dozens of potential locations across the city, Denver’s Road Home has identified a vacant 25,000-square-foot building in the Athmar Park neighborhood to house the new Solutions Center. The city will present a purchase and sale agreement for the building located at 405 S. Platte River Drive to City Council for approval in the coming weeks. If approved, Denver’s Road Home will issue a Request for Qualifications to identify a service provider(s) to operate, manage and oversee the Solutions Center. City Council would approve the selection and contract for services.

“The Solutions Center would provide a location where mental health and chemical dependency assessment and treatment services could be provided in a secure and therapeutic environment,” said Bennie Milliner, executive director of Denver’s Road Home. “More importantly, the Solutions Center will work to connect people to longer-term housing and the treatment services they need to live independently.”
Included in the Solutions Center would be:

• A clinic with up to 16 beds of crisis stabilization services to promote assessment, stabilization and re-integration back into the community as quickly as possible. Services would include: (1) screening and assessment; (2) triage; (3) crisis stabilization (including medication); (4) treatment; and (5) linkages to proper discharge.

• Space for up to 46 individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and who are referred to the Solutions Center directly from crisis stabilization services. Clients may stay for up to 30 days while they are connected to longer-term housing options and/or comprehensive housing and treatment programs.

• Ongoing training to first responders and necessary program partners in best practices for assessing, managing and properly referring individuals needing behavioral health services.

• Direct access for first responders with a connection point to a larger network of additional long-term services and housing options. The Solutions Center will ensure coordination with other crisis services such as crisis lines, Denver Health and other public and private social service agencies.

The Solutions Center would serve a primarily voluntary population, with capacity to keep some patients on mental health holds, while following best practices for providing adequate staff and security resources to ensure no one leaves the facility without staff escort or without a planned discharge and adequate transportation.

Mayor Hancock has announced a separate permanent supportive housing initiative with a focus on homeless individuals who frequently use emergency rooms and detox at a very high rate and often find themselves in jail for very low-level offenses, such as trespassing. The permanent supportive housing initiative will provide long-term housing and appropriate case management for these chronically homeless individuals. While the Solutions Center and the permanent supportive housing initiative will not be co-located, they are two major actions to fill resource gaps that exist today.

Denver’s Road Home has been and will continue to communicate with Denver City Council, neighborhood residents and other stakeholders about the Solutions Center.
“We are committed to maintaining an open, transparent dialogue with the neighborhood throughout this process and the entire life of the proposed project,” Milliner added.
If approved, the Solution Center is anticipated to open in the second half of 2015 at the earliest.

About Denver’s Road Home
Denver’s Road Home is the city’s program to end homelessness. It was created by the mayor’s Denver Commission to End Homelessness in 2005. Denver’s Road Home is a comprehensive, integrated plan that blends a housing-first solution with responsibility, self-reliance and accountability. The plan aims to link thousands of homeless people and those at-risk of becoming homeless to shelter, housing, job training, mentoring, eviction assistance and case management services. To learn more, visit www.DenversRoadHome.org.


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