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Denver announces first of contracts aimed at expanding services for homeless individuals

Posted at 1:14 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 20:03:55-05

DENVER – Mayor Michael Hancock and the city on Wednesday announced the first in a series of contracts, worth about $6.9 million, that will be put toward expanding services for homeless individuals in Denver.

The 11 contracts are the first step in a $15.7 million initiative the city announced earlier this year to renovate some of the existing shelters in the city and expand bridge and permanent housing offerings over the next three years.

Of that money, $11.2 million is coming from the city. Private organizations, including the Downtown Denver Partnership and VISIT Denver, which opposed Initiative 300 earlier this year, are committing the remaining $3.5 million.

The city says the contracts announced Thursday will be focused on day shelters, bridge housing, a resource programs for homeless individuals, and a new 24-hour shelter for a handful of older women and women who are veterans.

Five of the contracts worth more than $500,000 will have to be approved by the city council and will be up first for review on the Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee on Dec. 11.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is set to receive a $1.99 million contract to provide bridge housing for an estimated 600 households to try and get them into permanent housing. It will need to be approved by the council.

Family Promise of Greater Denver will be awarded $160,866 for bridge housing to serve 20 families with children.

The Denver Rescue Mission is set to receive $1.57 million for capital improvements at the Lawrence Street Shelter to meet ADA requirements and add 600 storage units, should it be approved by the council. It is also set to receive, pending council approval, $733,596 to expand outreach in the Ballpark neighborhood and add more behavioral health services.

The Salvation Army will get $33,334 to expand daytime services at the Crossroads Shelter and for rapid and bridge housing transition assistance.

The St. Francis Center will get nearly $500,000 split between two grants to improve accessibility for disabled individuals, renovate bathrooms and showers and add security cameras, and to expand staff for the day shelter and increase mental health services for up to 90 more people.

Urban Peak is set to receive $138,328 for improvements to its overnight shelter and drop-in center, and $840,682 – which still needs council approval – that would increase daytime services at both locations and provide case managers for 500 people aged 15 to 24, the city said.

Volunteers of America is set to receive $100,000 for capital improvements and $528,405 that still needs council approval for the new 24-hour Senior Women’s Shelter that is set to house and support up to 25 women age 55 and over or unaccompanied women veterans and provide them food, substance abuse treatment and behavioral health treatment.

“Partnerships and a community response are paramount to improving conditions for our most vulnerable residents,” said Department of Housing Stability Executive Director Britta Fisher. “We all know we have a shared responsibility to ensure that those experiencing homelessness are treated with dignity and compassion. Today’s announcement represents our first effort that blends and braids taxpayer-supported effort, government, philanthropy and business support.”