The City and County of Denver activated its Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center today to coordinate and manage Mayor Mike Johnston’s urgent push to house 1,000 people experiencing homelessness by the end of the year and to permanently close encampments.
Mayor Johnston issued an emergency declaration on July 18 and City Council is scheduled to vote on extending the order later this afternoon.
“We have a moral obligation to make sure everyone in Denver can get indoors, and activating the Emergency Operations Center is an important step in that direction,” said Mayor Mike Johnston. “I couldn’t be more grateful to the city workers who time and time again dedicate themselves to addressing our city’s most pressing issues. Under the leadership of Cole Chandler and Matt Mueller, the Emergency Operations Center will allow for greater collaboration between departments and agencies across the city, and will give us the capacity to tackle this challenge head on and house 1,000 Denverites.”
The specific Emergency Operations Center objectives include:
- Identify key data and begin tracking measures of success
- Identify and secure locations for homeless services and housing
- Coordinate encampment outreach efforts, service delivery, and encampment cleanliness leading up to encampment closures and move-in days
- Solicit and coordinate providers to operate and provide supportive services for micro communities, including hotels and tiny home villages.
As the emergency response gets underway, the city will significantly increase housing-focused outreach and engagement to people living in encampments. The city will also step up efforts to reduce public health risks and minimize trash accumulation until encampments can be permanently closed. Enforcement of the camping ban and large-scale encampment closures will continue.
According to new 2023 data released earlier today, there are 5,818people experiencing homelessness in Denver, with 1,423 of them living unsheltered. These data are from the Point-in-Time (PIT) count, which is an annual unduplicated count of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. Read more about the 2023 Point-in-Time report on the Metro Denver Homelessness Initiative’s website.
Updates about this effort can be found at denvergov.org/house1000 and via the Office of Emergency Management’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. The Joint Information Center will be open 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and sharing updates with the media as they become available.