Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the goals of Mayor Johnston’s homelessness initiative?

  1. On July 18, 2023, Mayor Johnston declared a State of Emergency and on July 24, 2023, the Emergency Operations Center was activated. His goal was to bring 1,000 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness indoors by the end of 2023. Declaring a State of Emergency opened additional avenues for the city to work more collaboratively, find innovative solutions, and access funding and resources that were critical to the success of this initiative. By Dec. 31, 2023, the goal was accomplished by bringing a total of 1,135 people indoors who were also connected to services. The State of Emergency concluded at the end of the year, though we know this work is far from over. The city will continue to help Denverites experiencing unsheltered homeless access safe, stable, housing, and work up the ladder of housing to permanent stability.

  2. Mayor Johnston announced the administration will work to get the number of people brought indoors up to 2,000 by the end of 2024.

  3. Permanently close encampments. In 2023 alone, Mayor Johnston and his administration closed 10 of the largest encampments in Denver. In 2024, the work will continue as outreach teams work to identify additional encampmenwts and people to support through this initiative.  

  4. Help people experiencing homelessness move toward stable, permanent housing as they progress through wraparound services and case management. 

Micro-Communities and Hotels 

What are the transitional housing options? 

Housing is one of the most important solutions to addressing homelessness. When people are offered housing combined with supportive services, 77% stay housed after three years (source: Denver SIB). 

We prioritize three main types of housing/shelter options: 

  • Existing rental properties
  • Hotels that are acquired and converted into transitional housing units 
  • Micro-communities such as tiny home villages. Micro-communities are land parcels about a half-acre or more in size. Each resident will have a private unit with a bed and desk where they can rest and store their belongings. In addition, each micro-community will have community spaces which include restrooms, showers, a kitchen, and gathering spaces. 

Sites are vetted based on the following criteria: 

  • Proximity to transit 
  • Access to utilities 
  • Meets basic zoning and permitting criteria 
  • Meets basic environmental criteria 
  • Distance from schools 
  • Equitable distribution across the city 

What is the distance required from a school? 

Our goal is to ensure micro-communities are at least .25 miles away from elementary schools or that they have a significant geographical barrier like major roadways.

Why are we building micro-communities if homeless shelters are available? 

While there may be beds available in congregate shelters (traditional, temporary overnight sheltering in facilities with large open spaces in which many bunks, cots, or mats are placed for sleeping), this type of shelter is often not available to individuals living on the streets due to their work schedules, pets, their partners, cold weather activation or more. Micro-communities offer these individuals a private, safe, stable and dignified place to live that meets their needs.

How many people will be housed in each site? 

The number of people at each site depends on various factors including site size, criteria for residents at each location, staff availability and units available. Some hotels may hold up to 400 people, while some micro-communities can have approximately 40-120 residents. 

How many people can live in a unit? 

Micro-community units can sleep one individual. Hotel units can sleep up to two people.

We aim to leverage existing housing resources for families. 

Can residents have pets? 

Yes. Most cats and dogs are allowed. However, guidelines may vary by location, as policy is set by the service provider.

How long do you expect people to live in these units?

A person will typically reside in a unit until they become eligible through individualized case management for permanent housing. The typical length of stay for an individual is 6 – 12 months, but some individuals may reside in a micro-community or converted hotel for shorter or longer durations than that.

The goal is to help provide a pathway to a new chapter. This starts by bringing people indoors and providing services that will support them on their way to permanent housing.

Are there any sobriety requirements? 

There is no sobriety requirement. Trading and selling of any substances will be prohibited.

What does security look like at All In communities? 

Communities are each staffed 24/7. Different locations require different security measures, ranging from cameras to security staff, and all have only point of exit and entry. Residents are expected to follow all laws and community rules at each site.

What is the process for a person experiencing homelessness to get selected and placed into new housing? Are there restrictions or qualifications? 

Outreach professionals work with individuals living in encampments to identify their needs and match them with the appropriate resource available to their needs and affinity group. Outreach workers continue to engage with those individuals and provide services that may include portlets, trash service and trash collection, until move-in day, when city staff and volunteers help individuals move into hotels or micro-communities. On move-in day, individuals are given an orientation and overview of community rules and expectations.

How do people currently unhoused sign up for a micro-community? 

Outreach workers work directly with people living outdoors to connect them with transitional housing resources. Unhoused community members can only get into micro-communities or converted hotel units through referral from city outreach teams, and that is happening exclusively through encampment closures at this time.

How much will it cost to live in the hotel units or micro-communities? 

Residents can live in these units at no cost to them.

Support Services 

What types of support services will the City and County of Denver offer to persons experiencing homelessness? 

Denver's model prioritizes on-site wrap-around services such as mental and physical health care, peer navigation, workforce training, behavioral health and substance misuse support, and more.

These services are available to every resident on site. The city also offers transportation from housing sites to some services offered downtown. 

Who are the services providers? 

 The City and County of Denver sourced and selected service providers through a Request for Proposals (RFP).

Currently, the city has service agreements with the Salvation Army, Bayaud Enterprises, the Gathering Place, St. Francis Center, Colorado Village Collaborative and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

Any additional service provider agreements will need to go through City Council approval and will be public. 

How many unhoused community members have unmet mental health and substance misuse needs? 

According to data from Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI), around 31% of unhoused individuals in the Metro Denver area have mental health needs and around 24% have substance misuse needs. 

Does the City and County of Denver plan to open controlled use sites? 

No. Our goal is to provide individuals with treatment resources and a path to stability. By providing sites with 24/7 staffing and wraparound services, we can deliver more safety and stability to micro-community members, neighbors and nearby businesses. 


What makes this process different from the “sweeps” we saw before?

A sweep breaks up encampments by removing its residents from one area, only for them to move to another location on the street and without a plan.

Our encampment resolution efforts aim to get people inside and connected to services, improving their health and safety, while permanently closing encampments.

The City and County of Denver will continue to enforce the urban camping ban. This means encampments have to be cleared when they pose significant public health and safety risks, right-of-way violations or trespassing.

We know people are safer living indoors than on the streets. Denver will continue to prioritize the health and safety of individuals living in encampments, as well as the surrounding neighbors.

Once encampment residents are housed in temporary or permanent shelter, what is the Mayor’s plan to ensure those camps remain closed, and are not repopulated? 

Denver is working closely with local businesses and the Department of Safety to ensure encampments remain closed. This means Denver will not allow structures like tents in these areas. Through active communication with community members and patrol, the city intends to keep these areas clear of encampments moving forward.

The Clean and Safe Downtown initiative is another tool that uses community collaboration to keep our city safe and vibrant. We want Denver to be the best place in the country to live, work and play. People can report concerns like camping with the Clean and Safe app.

And, as always, the public can also report any return camping in a closed encampment area by calling 3-1-1.


How many people are experiencing homelessness in Denver? 

According to 2023 data, there are approximately 5,818 people experiencing homelessness in Denver, which is a 30% increase from 2022. Of the total number of people experiencing homelessness, 1,423 are living unsheltered. This number has nearly tripled since 2019. 

The data is collected via the Point-in-Time (PIT) count, which is an annual unduplicated count of people experiencing homelessness on a single night each January. Read the full 2023 Point-in-Time report on the Metro Denver Homelessness Initiative’s website. The report also includes detailed data of the groups of people experiencing homelessness.

How many unhoused community members have jobs? 

Data shows that around 40% of unhoused individuals currently work. For those who are unemployed, job training and additional resources will be provided to help them succeed. 

What is the Mayor’s plan for those who do not want to move into emergency, transitional, or permanent housing, and would prefer to stay on the street?

Over the past six months, the vast majority of people offered this type of housing have accepted it, and more than 95% of people have stayed safely indoors. 

Public Safety  

What does the hotel and micro-community screening process looks like? Is a background check run on every individual? If anyone is a sex offender or has a past with violent crime, where do they go for housing? 

In the encampment resolution process, the first step is a safety check. If someone is committing a crime or presenting suspicious behavior, they will be checked for a warrant. If the individual has an outstanding warrant, they will be addressed accordingly by the police.

Next, the outreach team will engage with the encampment to begin the temporary shelter assignments. When we place folks into indoor options, they become a resident there, with an address. This means if they are an offender, they will have to register at this new address. Therefore, they will have to abide by those rules, especially if they are in close proximity to schools or residential properties.

We are choosing to establish micro-communities that are low barrier because we know that if we screen people out of these housing communities, then they are left in unregulated encampments. The status quo of unauthorized encampments across the city is unsafe for everyone involved.

When we bring people into a regulated, managed environment with 24/7 staffing and supportive services we can deliver better outcomes for everyone involved. 


What is the budget for the Mayor’s homelessness strategy, and what are the sources of funding? 

In 2024, these efforts will be funded largely through federal dollars, including $19.4 million in funding from FEMA and $14.8 million in ARPA funding that must be encumbered before the end of 2024. Additionally, the 2024 budget includes $2 million for the Denver Basic Income Project, which provides cash assistance to people experiencing homelessness to improve housing stability, wellbeing and other outcomes.

Will the sites have an impact on my taxes? 

No. Current city resources and support from the business community, foundations, philanthropic organizations, the state and private citizens will be leveraged to support this initiative. 

Affordable Housing 

How is the Mayor planning to create a larger supply of affordable housing? 

Affordable housing is a part of the Mayor’s longer term strategy in addressing homelessness and making Denver both a great and good city.

The City and County have opted into Proposition 123, which will require the addition of 1,500 new affordable units per year 

Mayor Johnston set a goal of adding 3,000 new, permanently affordable units each year, starting in 2024, through more efficient permitting practices and encouraging more innovative building practices.

The City and County of Denver is partnering with Housing Connector to align individuals and service providers to housing. Learn more here.

Community Engagement 

What does the Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA) process look like?

Mayor Johnston’s Administration is committed to ensuring neighbors can provide feedback, get involved and are able to collaborate with micro-communities and converted hotels.

The city has already begun the GNA process with constituents, stakeholders and providers for the Tamarac Family Shelter, the Radisson, the micro-community in Overland, the micro-community on Elati and the sites within the Quebec corridor.

The city helps set up GNAs between the service providers and neighborhood for each site. The providers set the rules for each site and part of the GNA revolves around neighbors to engage with service providers.  

Each site has a group of 8-11 community members representing the neighborhood in negotiations with the service provider operating the site.

How is the Mayor’s Office engaging stakeholders and the community around this initiative? 

The Mayor’s Office and City Council offices have worked together to host more than 60 community meetings to give residents and businesses the opportunity to ask questions and brainstorm ways their neighborhood can support this effort. We will continue this process as additional sites are identified.  

Not all districts have RNO representation to receive communication for their communities. They would like the city to send letters like we do for Community Information Meetings for zoning, etc. 

The Mayor’s Office of Community Outreach will continue to be in touch with neighborhoods that have micro-communities proposed in their areas, including through mailed letters, digital communication and in-person events.

Upcoming community meetings will be posted on the House1000 website.

Does property value go down with a micro-community? 

We have not seen any data that supports this concern.