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Learn more about homeless individuals and families on our Homeless Stories page.
The Homelessness Strategy and Action Plan is a City of Boulder specific plan to address homelessness and complement the Boulder County Ten Year Plan to Address Homelessness, adopted in 2010 and which the City of Boulder is a partner. The Strategy framework has been developed based on best practices, national policy, what’s worked in other communities, and local issues and needs. The Strategy identifies community goals and the Action Plan identifies specific implementation strategies to meet those goals. Council has held study sessions on homeless on August 26, 2014 ; April 28, 2015 and October 27, 2015 . Additional Study Session packets can be found on this webpage .
The purpose of the Strategy is to:
- Clarify City goals in addressing homelessness;
- Maximize efficiency and effectiveness of city resources;
- Engage community partners in solutions; and
- Provide a strategic road map for city action.
The Action Plan identifies five key strategies for accomplishing these goals:
- Strengthen regional partnerships;
- Develop innovative solutions to increase housing options;
- Improve local service integration;
- Expand community education; and
- Prevent homelessness.
Council supported the Strategy framework and draft Homeless Action Plan in April, 2015.
As opportunities have arisen, numerous strategies in the Action Plan have been developed and implemented with city and community partners, in all areas of the Action Plan. Current action plan items and accomplishments can be found here (Sept. 1, 2015 Information Packet item).
Elements of the framework have been developed based on:
- Key guiding plans previously approved by the city, including the TYP;
- National best practices and federal policy;
- Direction from City Council; and
- Consultation with local providers of homeless services.
Next steps include further opportunities for members of the public to provide input and perspective on the Homelessness Strategy and the issues of homelessness in the City of Boulder. The schedule of events and online opportunities to comment on these issues will be published in concert with opportunities for public engagement on the Human Services Strategy Public Engagement Timeline .
Council memos related to the Homelessness Strategy can be found on the Homelessness Council Memos webpage.
2015 Accomplishments and Current Efforts
The City of Boulder supports and partners in a number of initiatives to address homelessness:
- City of Boulder investments of approximately $4 million since 2008 in housing for low-income and homeless people have helped hundreds of people avoid or exit homelessness. Thirty-one new units of supportive housing opened in November 2014, housing approximately ten percent of the estimated chronically homeless population countywide. In addition, 48 people in employment training programs gained transitional housing in August 2015 with support from the City.
- Permanent supportive housing at 1175 Lee Hill opened in November 2014. One year later three quarters of the original residents are still housed there, and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless reports that there have been no complaint calls to law enforcement from the surrounding neighborhood regarding the building. Nine people with multiple previous municipal court violations were housed at 1175 Lee Hill and eight remain housed, significantly reducing impact on municipal court and law enforcement.
- The city is a partner in regional initiatives to improve service coordination, expand housing access and better assess the needs of our homeless population. Projects include the 25 Cities Initiative which has resulted in at least 36 people from Boulder County being matched with housing resources, and enabled client access housing resources beyond our own county. Boulder County has submitted approximately 13 percent of the regional clients and received approximately 20 percent of the regional housing resources (units, vouchers) in the pilot.
- Standardizing data collection – a common vulnerability assessment tool is now being used by most major homeless services providers in the city, and a profile has been developed of some of the most vulnerable. The city, county and three major adult homeless services providers are working to implement an integrated data system in 2016.
- The city is working with the seven-county Metro Denver Homeless Initiative and Denver Metro Mayors Caucus (MMC) Subcommittee on Homelessness to advance the goal of regional coordination and support, including a campaign recruiting landlords to provide units for more people eligible for rental assistance programs. Fifty five landlords throughout the region have committed, including some with units in Boulder. The city committed $2500 to this regional effort, which has now raised over $50,000 from MMC and regional cities to support participating landlords.
- The Boulder County Consortium of Cities, including the City of Boulder, are working together to jointly fund and support a permanent supportive housing needs assessment across the County. The study is underway and a report to the Consortium is expected in January, 2016.
- Boulder Homeless Services Collaborative - Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO), Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Bridge House have jointly launched expansion of adult day shelter and the Resource Center. Additional day resource center days will be at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and larger day shelter sites are being opened at faith community sites in Boulder, with day shelter availability expanding from five to six days weekly. The new rotating sites are expected to be implemented by the end of 2015. The three agencies have ongoing weekly meetings, and are implementing more consistent data reporting.
- BOHO created women-only and residents warming centers for ongoing clients with good behavior records.
- The Municipal Court connects homeless defendants with the Bridge House Resource Center, to stop the emergency services/law enforcement “revolving door” and help people access services more effectively. The city has expanded on this partnership by creating the “High Utilizer Project” to focus intensive resources and support on homeless defendants with highest number of violations – assisting defendants more quickly into housing and services and reducing impacts on law enforcement, court system and public spaces.
- BPD continues to collaborate with Mental Health Partners to implement the early intervention program called EDGE. EDGE teams police officers with mental health clinicians to proactively provide immediate mental health resources and triage on a call and divert individuals with behavioral health conditions from the justice system. Ninety seven percent of EDGE clients were diverted from arrest or ticketing based on interaction with the program, and 42 percent of clients had at least one face-to-face visit with a behavioral health provider within 60 days of an EDGE field encounter.
- Planning and Land Use – In 2015, The Ten-Year Plan Board convened a countywide planners group, coordinated by the Longmont Planning Director to identify and assess barriers and opportunities for the development of housing for the homeless. Work with this group is just getting underway.
- Boulder County Worthy Cause Funds – In spring 2015, Boulder County released an RFP for Worthy Cause pool funds to expand permanent supportive housing in the county. One million dollars was set aside for a project in Louisville. This project will be comprised of affordable options for seniors, families and individuals, including 20 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless families (15 units) and individuals (5 units).
- In 2015 the city provided nearly $700,000 to community organizations through the Human Services Fund to support programs offering food, shelter, health, mental health, case management, help with benefits, employment training and connections to long-term housing solutions. Results of 2014 funding are summarized below.
- More than 450 people received employment training, and subsequently gained employment
- More than 2,800 people at-risk of homelessness have received temporary assistance with rent, utilities or other expenses to prevent a costly slide into homelessness
- 7836 meals served/food distributed
- More than 2,720 people received emergency overnight shelter
- Approximately 200 people were provided with transitional housing
- Almost 850 people received onsite medical, mental health or substance use services at homeless service organizations
- Approximately 46 people maintained or obtained permanent housing
Status and Next Steps
- Community engagement and feedback process on Strategy and Action Plan – 4 th quarter, 2015 and 1 st quarter, 2016
- Refinements to Strategy and Action Plan - 1st and 2nd quarter, 2016
- First Quarter, 2016 - Study Session - check in on community engagement and progress on key initiatives.
- Second Quarter, 2016 - Anticipated Council agenda item for adoption of the final Strategy and Action Plan.
Wendy Schwartz, Planning and Program Development Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org , 303-441-1818.