Denver’s Chief Housing Officer Britta Fisher will be Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ next CEO

She has led the Department of Housing Stability since it was created in 2019.

Britta Fisher, Denver's chief housing officer, attends a press conference on public safety at the Colorado Convention Center. Nov. 10, 2022.

Britta Fisher, Denver's chief housing officer, attends a press conference on public safety at the Colorado Convention Center. Nov. 10, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
kyle harris

Last year, when John Parvensky, longtime head of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, frequent critic of the city’s handling of homeless issues and collaborator with various mayors, announced he would retire, many wondered who could fill his shoes.

The Coalition’s board has made a pick: Britta Fisher, head of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability, or HOST, the city’s housing agency that was established in 2019.

She will end her mayoral appointment as Chief Housing Officer and head of HOST on Feb. 1 and she will start with the Coalition toward the end of March.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Denver and a joy to build a team with such dedication and passion and a department envisioned by Mayor Hancock to deliver housing stability to thousands of residents,” Fisher said in a statement. “To support our community and advance the Mayor’s commitment to creating a more accessible and affordable Denver will forever be a highlight of my career. In my new role, I look forward to continuing the partnership between the city and the Coalition to serve our unhoused residents.”

In her years in the position, she saw some of the most significant economic and cultural challenges the city has faced when it comes to addressing homelessness: a pandemic, a spiking opioid crisis, a mental health crisis and a housing crisis.

While homelessness increased during her years in the position, so did the city’s response.

“When we needed a new approach, and an elevated understanding that housing and supportive services were core services we as a city need to provide for, Britta led the charge with determination and innovation,” noted Mayor Michael Hancock in a statement. “Our housing and homelessness efforts, as a city and as a community, would not be where they are today had she not stepped forward to serve.”

Fisher led HOST through multiple efforts to raise tens of millions in funding to solve homelessness, including raising the Affordable Housing Fund to over $30 million, approving and reauthorizing the Homelessness Resolution Fund which raises $40 million annually, and raising $38 million from 2021 general obligation bonds for new youth and family shelters, she noted in a letter to HOST’s collaborators.

Britta Fisher, Denver's chief housing officer, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for Mercy Housing's Rose on Colfax development in Denver's East Colfax neighborhood. April 7, 2022.

Britta Fisher, Denver's chief housing officer, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for Mercy Housing's Rose on Colfax development in Denver's East Colfax neighborhood. April 7, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

“Since HOST was created in October 2019, we have supported community partners and seen exits of nearly 5,500 people from homelessness to stable housing, and created and preserved more than 3,650 affordable homes, more than 3,280 of which received city funds,” she wrote.

“We transformed the city’s shelter system into majority residential shelter with 24/7 service, served 16,000+ people in shelters, 4,500+ with street outreach, and more than 36,000 households in housing programs,” she added. “And we innovated with new shelter alternatives like Safe Outdoor Spaces and support for direct assistance, like the Denver Basic Income Project.”

No doubt, homelessness is a front-and-center issue in the current municipal election and as Hancock, who appointed Fisher, closes out his final months as mayor.

“While I’m sad to see her leave the administration, I couldn’t be prouder that her passion and her expertise will stay in Denver as the next leader of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, one of our city’s and Colorado’s most impactful housing and services providers,” Hancock wrote.

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless President and CEO John Parvensky speaks at the opening of the Renaissance Legacy apartment building in Five Points. Oct. 6, 2022.

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless President and CEO John Parvensky speaks at the opening of the Renaissance Legacy apartment building in Five Points. Oct. 6, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Parvensky, one of the founders of the Coalition, endorsed her as a candidate for the job.

“The most important role of the CEO of the Coalition is to lead a talented group of committed employees to continue to serve our unhoused neighbors and those at risk of homelessness through housing, health care, and supportive services,” he said. “Britta Fisher has the experience, statewide knowledge, passion, and heart to continue and expand the important work of the Coalition without missing a beat. With Britta on board, leading an awesome staff, I can ‘ride off into the sunset’ confident that the Coalition is in the absolute best hands to continue creating lasting solutions to homelessness.”

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