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Aurora nonprofits work to fill funding gaps following city cuts

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Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-04 20:57:32-05

AURORA, Colo. — Organizations that help provide services for unhoused people in Aurora are working to fill funding gaps after the city cut funding for homelessness services following a drop in marijuana sales tax revenue and COVID-19-related funds coming to an end.

The City of Aurora received 25 applications for funds from organizations working to help unhoused people. The applications add up to nearly $5.3 million of requested funds but the city reports having less than $2 million available in the fund.

Gateway Domestic Violence Services will receive some funding from the city this year, but it’s a $90,000 decrease from last year.

“We're working really hard to not cut programs now. We're working harder to focus on fundraising, which we're always focusing on. So at this point, we're not cutting yet. But we're giving ourselves the first six months of the year to really explore how else we can help fill that gap that was left, but it is scary,” said Karmen Carter, Gateway Domestic Violence Services.

Carter said last year Gateway helped 1,800 victims of domestic violence. That includes kids, adults and pets.

“Domestic violence and homelessness are so connected because people have to make a choice of leaving from this unsafe home, where they're really in fear sometimes for their life, but without a place to go," Carter said. "Already, we turn away hundreds of people each quarter because we don't have the space. So it's so key we make up that gap.”

Mile High Behavioral Healthcare Public Relations Director Anna Miller said they’re also bracing for the impact.

“We lost about half of our funding… We're really going to have to expand fundraising and grant writing to continue to provide the support for these folks,” Miller said. “The last thing that we want to do is not provide services for those who need it most. Mile High Behavioral Healthcare has been around a really long time. And we really are here for the people in the communities. So the last thing we want to do is cuts.”

Miller said Mile High Behavioral Healthcare runs the only day shelter in Aurora.

“We also activate at the Aurora Day Resource Center for overnight — those really frigid nights — so that folks aren't out on the street,” Miller said.

Miller and Carter said homelessness is not always a choice and they hope city leaders can figure out a way to fill the funding gap.

Aurora City Council is expected to discuss stopgap measures in February.

Aurora nonprofits work to fill funding gaps following city cuts

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