Colorado has new funds to help more people experiencing both homelessness and addiction

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“Sweeps” of homeless encampments at Denargo and Delgany Streets, Jan. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Updates with details on opiate lawsuits involving Denver.

New legislation is allowing the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to help more people who are experiencing both homelessness and addiction.

House Bill 19-1009, signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis last month, allocates $1 million for housing vouchers that will help about 70 people across the state who are homeless, leaving a treatment program or both.

"It allows us to focus some specific dollars," Natriece Bryant, DOLA's deputy director, said Thursday of the bipartisan Substance Use Disorders Recovery legislation.

DOLA's Division of Housing is working with partners and local governments across the state to determine how to distribute the vouchers.

In addition to expanding DOLA's housing voucher program, the new law created a committee to advise state officials on using any funds awarded as a result of litigation concerning opioids. Several states and local governments have sued drug makers, accusing them of downplaying the risk of addiction.

In a release from its City Attorney's Office on Friday, Denver said it was among three dozen cities and counties leading negotiations asking federal judge overseeing consolidated lawsuits known as the National Prescription Opiate Litigation to allow settlement negotiations to begin at the start of the court proceedings instead of toward the end.

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