Yesterday afternoon, I needed to run a quick errand, not realizing that a sudden snow squall, along with a stiff wind and biting cold, was not a good plan. So how do people on the street deal with this? Shelters? Tents? Whatever they can find?
Today, Denver City Council members are spending their time in a conference room in the City and County Building discussing the city’s role in dealing with homelessness and housing. Perhaps things like finding transitional housing, suggesting different shelter options, offering housing assistance, and being aware of all the places that people can go inside when it’s miserable outside.
During their lunch break, the council members were to talk to people who are living with these issues, whether they have just ended incarceration, or among the thousands who moved here not knowing that rents have skyrocketed, or people who have mental health issues. And later, they’ll be talking to those who work in the city’s relatively new Department of Housing Stability, addressing the five-year planning report on Housing Inclusive Denver and other topics. Earlier this month, city council members toured some of Denver’s shelters – during the day, but not visiting at night when the shelters are open for business.
Today’s event is a retreat, so it’s not televised on Channel 8, but a meeting of the Housing and Homelessness Working Group on Monday also isn’t televised. The topic: relocation assistance. (Not to sound nerdy, but every city council meeting should be televised.)
I might guess that a ruling in December by a Denver County Court judge has prompted the city to step up its game, after a judge in Boise, Idaho, cited a decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down Boise’s camping ban. Thus, the ban here is sort of off, but there are still situations popping up here and there. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the ruling in Boise.
The links below lead to a story on the retreat, to the 2018 report Housing Inclusive Denver, an overview of the housing and homelessness issues in Denver, the annual count of homeless people in the city, the tour of shelters by city council members, and more. (And the good news of money from various sources that was pooled to turn an old hotel into housing, which happened pretty quickly.) Stories in Colorado Politics, Denverite, and Westword shed a lot of light on these issues.