Pathways to Housing

Housing First

Direct access, without barriers, to stable housing is the goal of rehousing programs. Housing stability is the base that allows an individual to feel safer; connect to resources; engage with the community, including through employment and/or volunteer opportunities; and address comprehensive health needs.Stable Housing Steps which are explained in the text

Housing Stability is the foundation for ensuring the health and wellness of an individual and the community. Once someone is stably housed, they can access healthcare, connect to services, find and retain employment, and access education. 

Pathways to Housing

The mission of HOST is to build a healthy, housed, and connected Denver. To meet this goal, the department works on all aspects within the housing continuum through homelessness resolution, housing stability, and housing opportunity. In the area of homelessness resolution, work includes prevention and rehousing strategies and supportive service interventions.

The pathways out of homelessness and housing instability vary and are unique to needs and resources for each individual.  

From this core of person-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally-responsive approaches, HOST invests in a range of supports to help people regain housing. These include outreach shelter, rehousing interventions, and supportive housing.

Steps to permanent and stable housing which are explained on this page

Each person experiencing homelessness may interact with some or all of these services as they resolve their housing crisis. But by investing in this full continuum, HOST supports residents to get back into permanent, stable housing as quickly as possible.

All of the work of the Department of Housing Stability is:

  1. Person-Centered: focused on the whole person, including strengths and challenges, while meeting everyone where they are without pre-judgement or assumptions.
  2. Trauma-Informed: emphasizes trauma awareness, physical and emotional safety, choice and empowerment, and strength and resilience.
  3. Culturally Responsive: respectful of beliefs and practices, sexual orientations, disability status, age, gender identity, cultural preferences, and linguistic needs; outreach staff are also aware of racial inequities and disparities, and tailor their approach accordingly. *Image based on: Leonardis, Lauren. Interlocking Puzzle, 2018, Massachusetts State Plan to End Youth Homelessness, page 10.


HOST works to keep people at risk of displacement in their existing homes whenever possible. To help residents stay in their current homes, HOST funds and connects residents with: 

  • Foreclosure counseling 
  • Eviction and legal assistance
  • Temporary rental and utility assistance 

HOST also works to preserve and create affordable housing in Denver, offering more residents the chance to own their own home and create more stable housing.

Emergency Sheltering

The City, through HOST and its partners, operates a wide variety of shelter services for people experiencing homelessness. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, Denver has moved toward offering 24/7 sheltering for men, women and transgender individuals. Visit the Shelters and Services page to locate a specific shelter.

HOST is also committed to utilizing the shelter system as a critical part of its work to end homelessness. Sheltering and emergency services should function as a component of rehousing, not as an end point for persons experiencing homelessness. To better understand the limitations of the current sheltering system and provide a framework for the future, the City commissioned the Three-Year Shelter Expansion Plan, which outlines recommendations and strategies for moving toward an efficient, accessible, and compassionate sheltering system that works to end homelessness. 

Illustration of COVID and capacity reduction

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has presented multiple challenges to sheltering, and to other areas of housing stability. Shelter capacities in Denver initially dropped by more than half due to social distancing standards. To mitigate these challenges, HOST has implemented a variety of strategies including: 

  • Opening auxiliary shelters 
  • Providing activated respite and protective action hotel/motel rooms

Learn more about HOST’s COVID-19 efforts.


HOST is also committed to street outreach efforts that are designed to build trust and support connections to rehousing and services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. This support is critical, particularly for those who may not be engaging with shelter and other services. HOST collaborates with multiple partner agencies throughout Denver to conduct street outreach. 

While maintaining a focus on creating connections to stable housing, outreach workers establish rapport and reduce harm by providing critical, life-saving resources such as food, water, clothing, blankets, and other necessities.

Rapid Rehousing and Other Rehousing Interventions

A range of strategies are needed to help people experiencing homelessness regain housing, to best meet the unique needs of each household and utilize limited resources cost effectively to ensure as many households as possible can be served.

In order to combat homelessness and move individuals toward stable housing, a rapid rehousing model is often used. Rapid Rehousing is a model that involves combining rental assistance and other supportive services such as:

  • Comprehensive case management
  • Housing navigation and security deposit assistance
  • Integrated primary and behavioral health care
  • Employment/vocational counseling 
  • Linkage to longer-term housing programs

Through HOST and its partner organizations, the City is committed to removing housing barriers and ensuring those experiencing homelessness have opportunities to access housing in ways that fit their needs.

In addition to rapid rehousing, HOST invests in other rehousing supports, including: 

  • Rapid resolution, which aims to help people new to homelessness reconnect with housing through problem solving approaches and limited, flexible financial assistance; 
  • Bridge Shelter, which provides temporary housing for a household who has a permanent housing resource identified but needs a bridge until that unit or household is ready; and
  • Transitional housing, which is temporary, supportive housing that fills the gap from homelessness to permanent housing by providing structure, services, and support. 

Supportive Housing

Supportive Housing is an evidence-based intervention providing non-time-limited affordable housing assistance with comprehensive and integrated supportive services. Research has shown that supportive housing is cost effective when provided to those who have experienced homelessness for long periods and who have one or more disabling conditions. The effectiveness of this model has been shown through Denver’s Social Impact Bond project: more than 79% of participants remain housed two years after they moved in.