DENVER — Denver City Council extended Mayor Mike Johnston’s state of emergency on homelessness during Monday's meeting with a 11-1 vote.
The declaration would have expired on Tuesday if Denver City Council had not extended it for the next four weeks.
“It allows the executive branch to skip some steps. It allows the mayor to ask for more state and federal funding, predominantly federal funding, but it also allows us to spend into TABOR reserves," Councilman Chris Hinds said, explaining an emergency declaration. “We try to strike a balance between just constantly voting for extensions of emergency declarations and also making sure that we have three functioning branches of government. We don't want to give the executive branch unchecked power.”
One of Mayor Johnston's goals is to house 1,000 people living on the streets of Denver.
“We kind of wrote a bit of a blank check for the mayor. And so in the next four weeks, I want that check to have some description to it," Councilman Hinds said. "So I want to understand, what is the plan? So the goal is 1,000 of our unhoused into housing by the end of the year. All right, how are we going to do that? What steps are we going to do? What interim goals are we going to have in the process? And how can we measure that success and in that measurement, including interim goals, is how I will base my votes on extending the emergency declaration each time.”
The one 'no' vote on Denver City Council came from Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer, who did not believe extending the declaration was the right decision without more concrete answers about the mayor's plan.