Red Arctic-grade tents line a snowy path leading toward Denver Community Church

February 2021 Homelessness Update

Homelessness is a city-wide issue, but the urban core, including parts of District 10, bears the brunt of this growing crisis. As the Mayor's office puts it, District 10 is "ground zero" for our city's homelessness crisis, and many would say Denver is the center of our state's crisis.

We continue to receive an incredible amount of outreach about homelessness, and we want to provide a point-in-time update of what we know. In consultation with the Mayor’s Office and other city department leaders, we are directing folks to report unsanctioned encampments to 3-1-1 and pocketgov.com. 3-1-1 and Pocketgov remain the most efficient ways to alert the city to neighborhood concerns.

On February 10th, Council received a seven-day notice of a Large-Scale Encumbrance Cleanup conducted by DOTI. The cleanup is scheduled for February 17, 2021, on Pearl Street from 13th to 14th Avenue. The cleanup will begin at 6:30 a.m. DOTI has determined that this cleanup is necessary due to the conditions of the large encampment, which based upon observation, includes significant encumbrances on the right-of-way making it unsafe, large amounts of feces, piles of trash, discarded food, and discarded sharps on the ground. DOTI is acting now with the hope of preventing further deterioration of the conditions in this area. Please note that this action is initiated by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (Public Works) as a coordinated multi-agency cleanup of the specified areas. It is not enforcement of DRMC 38-86.2 (Unauthorized Camping on Public or Private Property Prohibited).

On February 11, Council received a seven-day notice of a Large-Scale Encumbrance Cleanup conducted by DOTI. The cleanup is scheduled for February  18, 2021, on Emerson from 18th to 19th Street. The cleanup will begin at 6:30 a.m.  DOTI has determined that this cleanup is necessary due to the conditions of the large encampment, which based upon observation, includes significant encumbrances on the right-of-way making walkways unsafe, the presence of large piles of trash, sharps, feces, and urine. The Denver Fire Department has also expressed concerns about the presence of fire hazards in the encampment. Please note that this action is initiated by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (Public Works) as a coordinated multi-agency cleanup of the specified areas. It is not enforcement of DRMC 38-86.2 (Unauthorized Camping on Public or Private Property Prohibited). 

Read on for news from HOST and updates on Safe Outdoor Spaces.

News from the Department of Housing Stability (HOST)

The Department of Housing Stability (HOST) has finalized its framework that will guide investments made through the new Homelessness Resolution Fund this year. HOST has published its 2021 Action Plan and 2B Addendum to 2021 Action Plan, which provides a roadmap for the spending of an estimated $37 million in Measure 2B funds in 2021. During our public input process, 75 percent of community members surveyed indicated strong or very strong approval of the content in this plan. Additionally, the HOST Strategic Advisors provided unanimous support for implementation of the addendum.

Point in Time (PIT) Count – Volunteer Opportunities

Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI) has just recently announced that it received a HUD waiver on conducting the 2021 unsheltered PIT count due to safety concerns related to COVID-19. MDHI has changed the date for this year’s PIT count from January 25 to the evening of February 25. We understand that MDHI is not engaging volunteers for this count, which will rely largely on the region’s Homeless Management Information System across shelter locations. More information is available on the following MDHI webpage: https://www.mdhi.org/2021_pit_plan_release

Safe Outdoor Space updates

On February 3rd, the City Council Safety, Housing, Education, and Homelessness Committee approved for filing a contract for $899,569 between the City and Colorado Village Collaborative to fund two Safe Outdoor Space sites with amenities and services for up to 100 households through the end of 2021. These SOS sites will be at different locations than the two SOS sites currently operating in District 10.

DCC SOS (16th & Pearl)

The Colorado Village Collaborative is pleased to report that 6 SOS residents are moving out of the SOS and into a tiny home village! This will provide those residents with more stability, and confidence on their path to permanent housing while making space for more unhoused neighbors to move into the SOS.

To follow CVC’s progress with siting and resident progress on an ongoing basis, please subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage or follow our Facebook page.

The next Good Neighbor meeting for the DCC SOS is Thursday, February 11th, from 7-8:30 PM. Please follow this link to join the Zoom webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84114362662?pwd=N21JeDJuS1haWGg4VnFkbXhmVHpKUT09