Need help? For information on Severe Weather Shelter and all other Homelessness Resources, please visit: Get Help: Homelessness Resources in Boulder
Since the launch of the new countywide system of adult homeless services on October 1, 2017, 234 individuals have successfully exited homeless services countywide including 189 individuals citywide. As part of the new system all adult individuals seeking services start with a coordinated entry evaluation that matches their needs with available programs. Each program has a focus on permanent housing solutions for each client. Bridge House provides Path to Home Navigation (PTHN) services for individuals who need short-term assistance, while Boulder Shelter for the Homeless provides the Housing-Focused Shelter (HFS) program for those needing longer-term assistance.
Early Program Success – Oct. 1, 2017 – Jan. 31, 2018
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, HFS
- 21 people housed
Bridge House, PTHN
83 people successfully exited the program
- 21 housed
- 13 moved into Bridge House Ready to Work program, which provides employment training opportunities and transitional housing
- 1 entered substance use treatment
- 2 reunified with family members in Boulder
- 46 reunified with support systems outside Boulder
Homelessness is a top priority in the City of Boulder, with a new Homelessness Strategy approved in June 2017.
Homelessness Strategy Vision
Boulder residents, including families and individuals, have opportunities to achieve or maintain a safe, stable home in the community.
The Homelessness Strategy seeks to achieve that vision by pursuing 6 key goals:
Goal 1: Expand pathways to permanent housing and retention
Goal 2: Expand access to programs and services to reduce or prevent homelessness
Goal 3: Support an efficient and effective services system based on best practice and data-driven results
Goal 4: Support access to a continuum of basic services as part of a pathway to self-sufficiency and stability
Goal 5: Support access to public information about homelessness and community solutions
Goal 6: Create public spaces that are welcoming and safe for residents and visitors
More information on the homelessness strategy can be found here .
Implementing the Homelessness Strategy Vision
The city is actively working on Homelessness Strategy Goals through a variety of initiatives. Three key initiatives for 2018 include:
- Keep Families Housed Pilot;
- Data collection and analysis of new system for adults experiencing homelessness; and
- Housing Target Implementation
Keep Families Housed Pilot
Families are an important part of the city’s Homelessness Strategy. In 2017, the city partnered on a pilot with the Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) on Keep Families Housed, with a funding investment of $263,000.
The Keep Families Housed Pilot aims to prevent families from falling into homelessness with $500 of short-term rental assistance to stay in current housing for up to three months. Keep Families Housed was launched in January 2017. In 2017, 332 families had received a first rental assistance payment, 268 a second payment and 160 a third payment in compliance with the established triggers on children and family stability/well-being benchmarks. Example benchmarks:
- All eligible children in the household enrolled in Medicaid or CHP+
- All eligible children receive SNAP and WIC benefits
- Parents have completed at least one Boulder County Financial Stability class, or participated in a 1:1 financial session with Boulder County Community Education.
There have been significant improvements measured in household self-sufficiency between the first and subsequent rental payments, including short-term progress on money management, income, employment and food security. An independent evaluation of the program has been contracted to the OMNI Institute for the second quarter of 2018, with follow-up surveys to measure the effect on family well-being and housing stability after 12 months of implementation. Funding for this program has continued in 2018.
Analysis of Adult Homeless Services System Implementation
A new sheltering and services model for single adults was implemented countywide in 2017. The model focuses on coordinated entry, navigation services and prioritizing resources and a housing path for higher-need people. This model was developed by a working group convened in the fall of 2016, comprised of city and county staff, homeless service providers, a mental health professional and homeless client representatives. Key recommendations of the working group's final report include:
- Implement a coordinated entry system: One-two “doors” in the community as entry points for everyone seeking help.
- Implement a common assessment tool to assess everyone before services, to understand and target needs appropriately.
- Prioritize support and community resources for people with higher support needs that cannot self-resolve quickly. Allow them to stay in housing-focused shelter (daytime and overnight) until placed in housing.
- Develop navigation (diversion) programming for people not best served by entering the system. Include some emergency sheltering for people in navigation plans which require more than one day to complete.
- Implement housing targets and consistent housing investment for exit strategies. Set a target of 60 new units (25 in Boulder) each year for three years.
- Use real-time data feedback for testing assumptions and adjusting system elements.
- Include options for emergency severe/unusual weather sheltering.
For more information on available services, please visit Get Help: Homelessness Resources in Boulder .
Services Flow in the New System
Coordinated entry is the first stop and a key element of the adult homeless service system included in the goals for the City of Boulder Homelessness Strategy.
Coordinated entry is a national best practice and has been implemented countywide with standardized procedures. All homeless adults seeking services enter through a limited number of community entry points, where they are assessed with common screening tools and matched with appropriate service and housing paths. In Boulder, coordinated entry is located at 2691 30 th Street. For more information on countywide Coordinated Entry, please visit: https://www.bouldercounty.org/homeless/
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is providing housing-focused shelter (HFS) in the new system. HFS is year-round, ongoing shelter for moderate- and high-need for people that are longer-term local residents unable to resolve their housing crisis without significant support. These residents are screened through the coordinated entry system before acceptance into HFS. HFS participants stay in shelter, with support in a housing plan, until permanently housed at other locations.
HFS replaces the previous lottery system where people with various needs entered on a night-by-night basis without screening, assessment or ongoing programming.
This change is based on national best practices and policy to effectively address homelessness, stabilize residents with the most need, get them into housing more quickly, and reduce demand on overall emergency systems.
Path to Home Navigation Services (PTHN)
Navigation services are intended to eliminate or reduce time in local homeless services for lower-need persons that may be able to resolve their housing crisis with limited short-term assistance. Overnight shelter is available for up to 50 adults with navigation plans. The navigation concept is based on the national best practice known as diversion. Bridge House provides navigation services in the City of Boulder through its Path to Home Navigation (PTHN) program. People enter PTHN via coordinated entry referral.
Housing Target Implementation
The City of Boulder Division of Housing has convened a working group of housing and service providers to identify and implement actionable items to generate affordable units serving those most vulnerable to a lack of housing, including those who are chronically homeless. Focused on generating more permanently supportive units, the following strategies are being implemented in 2017:
- The City of Boulder Housing Division supports BSH and Boulder Housing Partners for Continuum of Care funding through the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative to increase local homeless housing resources by 36 vouchers with a match commitment of $200,000 annually for three years. These local funds will begin to expend in 2017.
- Continue to identify resources to further support housing vouchers or provide financial subsidy to afford rents/security deposits.
- Use local resources to identify and subsidize units in existing affordable housing rental inventory to designate as transitional or permanently supportive housing as well as work to have these units in new developments.
- Continue exploration and implementation of policies that create housing opportunities those earning 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and below, with priority for residents exiting transitional housing or qualifying for rapid rehousing.
Wendy Schwartz, Homeless Initiatives Manager, [email protected] , 303-441-1818.