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City of Aurora to address homelessness through new navigation center

Posted at 9:40 PM, Dec 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 18:31:37-05

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora is taking steps to address its growing unhoused population through an agreement with Douglas County to build what's being called a homeless navigation center.

Originally, Douglas County was sending members of its unhoused population to Aurora, which the city was not happy with. But on Monday, both sides were able to strike a deal.

Essentially, Douglas County will be able send those experiencing homelessness to the navigation center once it's built. However, the county can only do so if it helps pay for some of the costs.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said if Douglas County can't chip in, he'll revisit the agreement in the future.

“I knew I threw a rough punch at them but feel it was necessary to get their attention. I think we will move forward now in productive conversations for how it moves forward to benefit Aurora and Douglas County,” he said.

Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon issued a statement on behalf of the board of commissioners:

“The unhoused population in Douglas County is relatively small – 50 individuals unsheltered as of 1/22 Point in Time of Homelessness [] survey. In fact, 82% (monthly average) of the homeless inmate population in our detention center are not from Douglas County. When they are released, they are offered transportation to the location of their choice. Additionally, we partner with our faith-based Winter Shelter Network to provide emergency shelter for women and children during the winter months. Since 2020, more than $14 million (in federal funds allocated to Douglas County) have been designated to assist our residents at risk of homelessness or are unsheltered. We are, and intend to sustain our position as, a strong, responsive regional partner on this issue and we appreciate the City of Aurora taking the lead in pursuit of the State’s funding for a Regional Navigation Campus.”

Coffman said it's unclear when the city of Aurora will break ground on the navigation center. He said city officials have to apply for state funding first, which he said is underway.