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Douglas County commissioners tout decrease in homelessness, immigrant response at Wednesday night town hall

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Posted at 1:08 PM, Mar 28, 2024

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Douglas County commissioners touted the success of its homeless initiative at a town hall Wednesday night, reporting a decline in people experiencing homelessness due to a countywide partnership.

"Right now we have 40 unsheltered homeless and our HEART Team knows pretty much all of them by name," Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon, who represents District I, said.

For comparison, 72 people were experiencing homelessness on January 30, 2023, according to the latest Point in Time Count.

Laydon said the county has been able to decrease that number in part because of The Homeless Engagement, Assistance and Resource Team (HEART), which pairs navigators with local law enforcement to respond to community calls regarding homelessness and helps connect those in need with resources.

In 2022, the commissioners also launched the "Handouts Don't Help" campaign.

70 signs across the county urge residents to donate to the Douglas County Community Foundation where 100% of proceeds go directly to local nonprofits, instead of giving to people panhandling at intersections.

The county describes navigators as "subject matter experts, who have experience in behavioral and mental health or case management."

To contact a member of the HEART team, call 303-660-7301 or you can complete an online referral form.

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The conversation Wednesday night also addressed Douglas County's take on newly-arrived immigrants.

"I’d like to ask you what you’re going to do when a bus load of illegal aliens starts unloading and rolls up to town?" asked one Douglas County resident in the crowd.

Next week, commissioners will vote on an ordinance that targets bus drivers who stop at unplanned destinations to unload newly-arrived immigrants.

Commissioners made it clear Douglas County is not a sanctuary county.

The board has directed the county attorney to pursue legal action against the state to challenge laws that impede the local deputies from cooperating with federal law enforcement.

Douglas County commissioners tout decrease in homelessness, immigrant response

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