- Numerous city agencies have been outreaching to the encampment area outside the shelters near Lawrence and Park Avenue West for more than six months prior to the activities of March 8. This included nearly daily outreach to connect people with services and city crews routinely removing food waste, refuse, biohazards and other items from the area sidewalks.
- Denver Police report that there have been fewer incidences of aggravated assaults and robberies occurring between homeless individuals in the area (termed transient-on-transient crimes);
- The city’s outreach teams have listened and worked with homeless individuals to assess and connect them to the resources they need to stabilize their lives. Since March 8, outreach teams report they have:
o Assisted five individuals with applications for Aid, such as social security & disability benefits
o Connected eight people to food assistance
o Connected seven people with obtaining or validating medical coverage
o Assisted four people with obtaining identification that had been lost or misplaced prior to March 8
o Are working with seven individuals to move from the encampment area into housing (by the end of March)
o Connected five individuals to mental health assistance who were unaware of the resources available to them
o Reconnected two individuals to their mental health case managers to help them resume their treatment program
- The mental health and substance abuse needs for people who were encamped at the site are very complex. Our Mental and Behavioral Health Navigators are spending many hours engaging with people and helping them access and stay connected to services.
- The City has an overflow shelter plan in place that allows us the flexibility to work with our provider community to consistently assess shelter needs and work to ensure no one willing to access shelter is turned away.
- While some will point to the annual point in time survey and insist there is not enough room to shelter the homeless, consider that 84% of those included in the annual point in time count were already located in transitional housing or in a shelter setting, leaving around 500-600 people who were counted as being on the streets.
- There is more work to do. Homelessness is not something that happens because of a single issue – people experience homelessness for a wide spectrum of reasons so our approach to helping those who are homeless must be just as broad. In 2015, the City and County of Denver spent approximately $40.7 million on a variety of programs and initiatives for those experiencing homelessness, those at-risk of falling into homelessness and the formerly homeless. This year the city projects it will spend approximately $47.6 million on programs and initiatives geared toward helping this population.