Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced Friday that the city has completed the second round of its “housing surge,” during which his administration attempted to find homes for 400 households in 100 days.
In this round, the city fell short of its “stretch goal” by a few dozen households. According to the Department of Housing Stability (HOST), the second round placed 21 more people into housing than the fall surge. In total, 597 individuals from 359 households were given places to live.
“Denver’s network of shelter services partners do an incredible job, day in and day out, at delivering house keys and a brighter future for individuals facing episodes of homelessness,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock in a statement.
Participants in the program include people who were living in safe outdoor spaces, like Max Hutchinson and Kevin Bastow, who received a new apartment during this second surge. It also extends to individuals from shelters and unauthorized encampments, HOST said.
Groups including the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, Community Solutions and Homebase worked on the effort. Funding for the project comes from emergency federal COVID-19 money, but the city also used public money from Denver’s Homelessness Resolution Fund, which was passed by voters in 2020. That money helped expand HOST’s work with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to increase the number of homes available. Those funds were also used to connect participants with private landlords who rented out market-rate housing to the program.
“With two successful housing surges behind us,” said Hancock, “we’re not only placing more people into housing, we’re also fostering innovations that will make a lasting impact going forward.”
While every key to a home matters to people living without one, the numbers of unhoused people in the metro area remain staggering.
A total of “32,233 individuals accessed services related to homelessness between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021,” according to the Metro Denver Homelessness Initiative’s Annual State of Homelessness report. “Over the course of a year, 10,870 adults, 1,031 members of families, and 954 youth engaged in services while staying in an unsheltered location.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the city fell short of its goal in both rounds. In fact, it exceeded its goal of placing 200 homes in the first round and only fell short in the second. We regret the error.