Community Impact

Overview

Community Impact at Denver Human Services is designed to deepen engagement, listen to, and partner with our community. This work is guided by our Strategic Framework: Human Together, our Human Services Value Sphere, and data that looks at resiliency, health, and community resources. While essential services are a pillar to ensuring basic human needs are met, the Community Impact and Strategic Planning team is designed to expand the network of opportunity and move toward a healthy and connected community.

The Community Impact team is made of the following teams:

Strategic Planning and Special Projects

The Strategic Planning and Special Projects team oversees implementing the strategic framework: Human Together, conducts community engagement opportunities to ensure voice the community is leading our work, and manages strategic projects.

Marketing and Communications

The Marketing and Communications team is responsible for telling the story of Denver Human Services, responding to media, marketing our services to the community, and creating a positive customer service brand image that is rooted in equity.

Grants Management

The Grants Management team manages our portfolio of grants, including a community grant initiative designed to strategically make investments in the Denver community, while also empowering communities to develop innovative strategies to address pressing needs.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team leads the agency’s Equity Plan as an internal consultant and guide that focuses on organizational culture and is an expert in EDI.

Community Conversations

We conducted the following community engagement strategy to better understand the needs of the community. In order to carry out our vision of a healthy community where everyone is connected, supported, safe, and well, we recognize we must co-create and implement solutions, outside of our traditional scope of work, with the beneficiaries and stakeholders.

The Community Impact team hosted 13 conversations total - four conversations with City Council representatives and four topical conversations with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) on the following topics:

  1. Growth and development of Denver
  2. Food security
  3. Financial worries and opportunities
  4. Caring for yourself and your family

We also hosted five conversations with neighborhood residents of Montbello, Windsor, Westwood, College View, and Capitol Hill. From those conversations, the following priority themes were identified. They are organized by rate of frequency that they arose across all conversations.

Resource Communication and Collaboration

Participants requested a city-wide and cross-sector resource list and wanted to see organizations collaborating to serve the various communities.

Housing Costs

Rising housing costs are a burden for families, creating displacement and causing multiple families or multi-generation families to live together.

Economic Resiliency

Low wages, job loss and high costs of living (specifically, healthcare and childcare costs) are barriers for economic resiliency.

Cultural, Racial and Linguistic Equity

Diversity was the greatest asset for communities, yet a lack of translation services and disproportionate job loss and COVID-19 exposure was a top concern.

Digital Divide

Digital literacy and the cost of internet and technology has become an increased barrier for many residents.

Distrust and Fear of Government

Public Charge has created fear for people to apply for benefits and other government services. We heard a lot about fear of government among the Hispanic community due to the previous administration.

Transportation

Lack of transportation was an identified barrier to food resources, childcare and access to health services.

Missing or Desired Resources

Mobile Food Pantries or home deliveries, affordable childcare, mental health resources, job pathways, financial literacy, and youth programming were all missing or desired resources.

Denver Human Services-specific Areas of Improvement

Better hours, improved communication on eligibility and services, better website navigation, co-enrollment, meeting people where they are, and building trust were all expressed areas of improvement specific to Denver Human Services.

 

Denver Human Services Index

At Denver Human Services, we envision a healthy community where people are connected, supported, safe, and well. In support of our vision, we have launched the Denver Human Services Index, which aggregates 16 key indicators by neighborhood into one summary map, which can be used by DHS decision makers and community partners to inform programs, practices, services, and investments across the Denver community. The 16 key indicators used in this index are:

  • Number of SNAP (food assistance) eligible people that are not enrolled
  • Food deserts
  • Teen births
  • Uninsured
  • Children not participating in preschool
  • Children not reading at grade level by 3rd grade
  • Adults with less than a high school diploma
  • Households without internet access
  • People in poverty
  • Unemployment
  • Violent crime rate
  • People over age 65
  • People under age 18
  • Foreign-born population
  • People who speak a language other than English at home
  • Cost-burdened housing

These indicators focus on where societal and systemic challenges may be limiting opportunities across the Denver community. At the same time, they showcase historical themes of both resourced and under-resourced neighborhoods throughout Denver. With the launch of these indicators, it is our hope that these data will help us better collaborate with our community partners, track impact of our investments, and align the work across the city to improve outcomes for all Denver residents.