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Denver Highlights Services and Support for Homeless Population during 2016

DENVER – In 2016, the City and County of Denver remained steadfast in its offering of a wide variety of supportive services and resources for those experiencing homelessness.  The city invested more than $47 million on homelessness related programs in 2016, and several new programs launched have seen early successes and will expand in 2017, such as the Co-Responders Program and Denver Day Works.

“Our main objective to serving those who are without homes has been and will remain helping them improve their overall wellbeing and build a foundation for future success.” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Each person who experiences homelessness is unique, and we have taken a multi-faceted approach to supporting those varying needs with the right services that will improve their lives and situations.  The city and service provider partners work every day to connect people experiencing homelessness with quality services and housing, and this dedicated work will continue undaunted in 2017.”

Each night in Denver, more than 3,000 people are in shelters, transitional housing and/or safe haven. The city's overall strategy to helping people experiencing homelessness in Denver is a system of outreach and shelters, mental and behavioral health assistance, substance abuse support, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing. 

In 2016, this approach lead to the following outcomes, through efforts directly funded by the city:

  • Connected more than 1,315 people to permanent supportive and more stable, long-term housing, which includes 661 in Metro Denver through the Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System (CAHPS).
  • Launched Denver Day Works program and provided more than 1,400 hours of work experience in the first two months of the program, which equates to $13,383 paid in wages and $3,884 in volunteer assistance.
  • Hired four Denver Day Works participants for full-time, seasonal work at Denver Parks and Recreation.
  • Housed 68 chronically homeless individuals through the Social Impact Bond program, with another 182 to be housed in 2017.
  • Created the first-ever dedicated fund for affordable housing in Denver. The fund is estimated to raise at least $150 million over the next 10 years to create or preserve 6,000 affordable homes for those who are homeless and low- to moderate-income families.
  • Began the building of two new shelters – with service provider partners Catholic Charities and Denver Rescue Mission – that are set to open in 2017.
  • Connected 3,000 people to mental or physical health resources and/or substance abuse treatment.
  • Launched the new co-responder program, which connected 1,100 people to mental or behavioral health resources. This program that pairs behavioral health specialists with officers on patrol, is set to expand in 2017.
  • Contacted an average of 825 people each month and connected an average of 300 people per month to a warm place to sleep at night through outreach teams. Starting in January 2017, outreach teams will begin operating 24 hours a day, with outreach work being conducted until 1 a.m. and emergency on-call support available until 6 a.m. to assure we are identifying those in need of shelter in the late hours.
  • Connected 39,651 people with food assistance and 115,785 received medical assistance in the most recent 12 month period.
  • Connected 2,031 people with fee waivers in the past 6 months for important identification documents, like birth certificates and state IDs, so that they can continue to receive supportive services that require them.
  • Reunified 165 people with supportive family members.
  • Set out to purchase another building to create more shelter and will engage the community in a shelter design initiative to reimagine how Denver can ensure guests receive assistance in a dignified way.

Included in Denver’s homeless service efforts are various fundraising and awareness efforts.  In 2016, more than $76,000 was collected through change receptacles at Denver International Airport, and more than $1,700 through a text-to-give campaign.  Approximately $5000 a year is contributed through donation meters coordinated by Denver’s Road Home.

These efforts are coordinated through the Give a Better Way campaign, which helps residents connect their donations of time, goods or support to community-based organizations. Donations finance more than 20 community partners who provide shelter, job training, meals, housing and other resources to help get people who are homeless back on their feet. No matter the amount, any donation can make a big difference for those experiencing homelessness. Interested donors can download the new donor guide at or text HOMELESSHELP to 41444.