By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– Denver’s Department of Housing Stability has released a draft version of its five-year strategic plan to support those residents who are unhoused or facing housing instability. The plan was released after gathering input from thousands of residents over the past year.

The plan will help guide how the department invests resources, creates policy and provides housing stability, along with creating housing opportunities for those in Denver.

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(credit: CBS)

“We are going to continue to deploy every tool available, with a goal of lifting thousands of people out of homelessness over the next two years, including those who are living on our streets in the most unsafe and unhealthy of conditions,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock in a statement. “We know what works, and we’re going to do even more and even better. This plan will further solidify housing and homelessness resources as an essential city service, while strengthening our community’s hand toward building a healthy, housed and connected Denver.”

The plan includes 14 goals that will help create a Denver where race no longer predicts outcomes for involuntary displacement, homelessness, homeownership or cost burden, and where residents:

  • Have equitable access to housing options that meet their affordability needs, provide opportunity to increase wealth through home ownership, and improve their quality of life;
  • Have the choice in when and under what circumstances they move or remain in their homes and neighborhoods;
  • Experience homelessness rarely and, if they do, it is brief and one-time.

Highlights of the plan include:

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  • Create and preserve 7,000 homes
  • Preserve 950 income-restricted rentals
  • Measurably end veteran homelessness
  • Reduce unsheltered homelessness by 50%
  • Increase the number of people who exit shelter into housing from 30% to 40%, and families from 25% to 50%
  • Reduce the average length of time residents experience homelessness to 90 days
  • Reduce eviction filings by 25%
  • Increase households served in rehousing and supportive housing programs from 1,800 to 3,000
  • Help address gentrification with policies that prioritize affordable housing for residents at risk of or who have been involuntarily displaced
  • Increase homeownership among low- and moderate-income households, with a focus on households that are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
  • Reduce contract and procurement times

“With homelessness on the rise and more than one-third of Denver residents struggling to keep up with housing costs, it is important to continue to prioritize our citywide commitment to affordable housing,” said HOST Executive Director Britta Fisher in a statement. “This plan relates how our work will continue to be person-centered, trauma-informed, data-driven and culturally responsive. We join our colleagues across the city in our Mayor’s call to lead with equity and we published our measures to ensure we take actions meaningfully aligned to these values.”

A survey on the plan is open for public comment through Friday, Sept. 3. The plan will also be presented at the following virtual community meetings:

Thursday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m. https://denvergov-org.zoom.us/j/89571652075

Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 5:30 p.m. https://denvergov-org.zoom.us/j/89270311692

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For more information on the planning effort and to sign up for updates on the process, visit www.denvergov.org/housing.

Jennifer McRae