By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis joined other state leaders to visit locations that are focused on reducing homelessness with support systems including mental health care. It’s part of an effort to ensure more people can exit homelessness and thrive.

(credit: CBS)

“We need to draw a clear path to recovery and work for Coloradans experiencing homelessness. Colorado’s excellent community partners who are providing keys to a safe home, opening doors to jobs, access to mental and behavioral health care, and meeting people where they are with the services they need,” said Polis in a statement. “Our administration will continue to turn transformative state and federal dollars into real solutions that work with cities to reduce homelessness, improve public safety, and save people money.”

(credit: CBS)

Polis toured Sanderson Apartments, a permanent supportive housing community operated by the Mental Health Center of Denver, on Friday. According to the governor’s office, “Sanderson residents who have experienced long lengths of homelessness and face complex barriers to housing stability are provided with wraparound services, supported by the physical building design which includes trauma-informed care and front desk support. There are no time limits on how long residents can stay at Sanderson.”

“Safe, stable housing is vital to well-being,” said Dr. Carl Clark, President & CEO of Mental Health Center of Denver, in a statement. “Our Sanderson Apartments prove that supportive housing works by significantly decreasing police contacts (-34%), arrests (-40%) and
emergency department visits (-40%), while increasing access to mental health treatment, basic needs, employment, community integration and medication. Through this innovative program, the people we serve regain dignity and purpose after years of chronic homelessness.”

(credit: CBS)

Polis also toured Ready to Work- Aurora on Friday afternoon. The program “provides adults experiencing homelessness with a holistic approach combining three elements – paid work in a Ready to Work social enterprise, dormitory housing at a Ready to Work House, and case management support.”

He then visited Mile High United Way to discuss the 211 program, which is a free, multilingual and confidential hotline.

“Mile High United Way is proud to welcome Governor Polis to discuss the critical work of our Bridging the Gap program and our 211 Help Center,” said Christine Benero, President and CEO, in a statement. “The past two years have created even greater challenges for young people coming out of the child welfare system and it will take a community united to provide the resources for safe and affordable housing and access to an education and a great job.”

Jennifer McRae