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Mayor Hickenlooper Creates Commission on Homelessness


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Lindy Eichenbaum Lent

Mayor Hickenlooper Creates Commission on Homelessness

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday a broad-based community commission to develop and implement a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Denver. With support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, cities across the country - including Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and Atlanta - are creating and implementing these 10-year plans. Roxane White, manager of the Denver Department of Human Services, will chair the commission for the Mayor.

The creation of the 36-member Denver Commission on Homelessness follows up on a campaign promise by Hickenlooper to mobilize a coalition of key players from City agencies, non-profits, foundations, businesses, the faith community and homeless services providers to develop strategies for addressing the many challenges of homelessness.

“This commission brings together people who have the experience, the skills, the knowledge and, most importantly, the heart, to tackle the challenges surrounding homelessness in Denver,” Hickenlooper said.

Noting that the number of homeless persons in the metro area has increased nearly 80 percent since 1990, Hickenlooper added, “If we are to consider ourselves a truly great city, we must make every effort to confront the multiple complex issues that underlie homelessness. The people I’ve named to this commission are already respected leaders in this effort, and I offer them the full support of the City as we move forward together.”

Hickenlooper said the Commission will begin working immediately to support efforts already in progress to ensure adequate emergency shelter for the winter months. The concerns surrounding aggressive panhandling and the need for a safe environment for Denver businesses, visitors and residents are also top priorities.

Additionally, Hickenlooper praised the homeless-provider community for its recently published Blueprint to Address Homelessness in Denver and said the Commission will look to that document as a starting point in the effort to develop and implement a plan for the City of Denver.

In creating a plan to end homelessness, the Commission will consider the needs of the many special populations included among the homeless: veterans, families with children, youth on their own, undocumented immigrants, women, people with HIV/AIDS, and seniors. The Commission will collaborate with state and regional governments, businesses, neighborhood groups and the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative to address a broad range of policy and practical issues including:


  • Preservation of existing housing
  • Development of new affordable housing
  • Housing policies
  • Homeless prevention

    Public Safety

  • Panhandling
  • Police interaction with people who are homeless
  • Planning for discharge of people who are incarcerated

    Emergency Shelter

  • Severe weather plans
  • Additional shelter beds
  • Hygiene centers and public restrooms

    Community and Economic Development

  • Job development & training
  • Education
  • Adequate wages to support housing
  • Workforce housing
  • Transportation Supportive Services
  • Physical and mental health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Discharge planning from hospitals, institutions and foster care

    The members of the new Denver Commission on Homelessness are as follows:

    Roxane White
    Manager, Denver Department of Human Services

    Richard Audsley
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Mile High United Way

    Charlie Brown
    Councilman, Denver City Council, Council District #6

    Marva Coleman
    Director, Five Points Business Association

    Eugene Dilbeck
    President and CEO, Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

    Lisa Flores
    Special Assistant to Mayor Hickenlooper for Human Services

    Leslie Foster
    President and CEO, The Gathering Place

    Rick Garcia
    Councilman, Denver City Council, Council District #1

    Michael Hancock
    Councilman, Denver City Council, Council District #11

    Mike Henry
    Zoning Committee Chair, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation

    Myrna Hipp
    Deputy Director, Mayor's Office of Economic Development

    Dorothy Horrell
    President, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation

    Walter Isenberg
    President and CEO, Sage Hospitality Resources, LLC

    Tom Knorr
    Executive Director, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, Inc.

    Father John Lager
    Director, Catholic Charities/Samaritan House

    Doug Linkhart
    Councilman, Denver City Council, At Large

    Tom Luehrs
    Executive Director, St. Francis Center

    Darin Mackender
    Shareholder/Director, Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff & Ragonetti

    Stella Madrid
    Intergovernmental Relations and Community Affairs Officer, Denver Housing Authority

    Judy Montero
    Councilwoman, Denver City Council, Council District #9

    Debbie Ortega
    Ortega Consulting

    Cec Ortiz
    Director, Mayor's Office of Workforce Development

    John Parvensky
    President, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

    Jerene Petersen
    Executive Director, Urban Peak Denver

    Jim Polsfut
    First Western Trust Bank

    Jeanne Robb
    Councilwoman, Denver City Council, Council District #10

    Steve Savageau
    Owner, Savageau Galleries

    Richard Scharf
    Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

    Dana Scott
    Portfolio Manager, Daniels Fund

    Willie Shepherd
    Managing Partner, Kamlet Shepherd Reichert & Edgington LLP

    Dave Walstrom
    Executive Director, Colfax Business Improvement District

    Tamra Ward
    Vice President, Public Affairs, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

    Anne Warhover
    President and CEO, Downtown Denver Partnership

    Elbra Wedgeworth
    President, Denver City Council, Council District #8

    Gerald Whitman
    Chief of Police, Denver Police Department

    Denise Wright
    Manager of the Downtown Information Center, Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

    Nan Morehead
    Community Liaison, Denver Department of Human Services

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