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  • Human Services Department
  • Children Youth & Families
  • Human Services Planning
  • Senior Services

Homelessness Strategy

Summary

On June 20 , 2017, Council approved the Homelessness Strategy. pdf The strategy is a City of Boulder specific plan to address homelessness and complement other regional homelessness efforts. The strategy was developed based on best practices, research, what’s worked in other communities, and local issues and needs. At the same time, Homeless Solutions for Boulder County (HSBC) was established. This collaboration between the City of Boulder, City of Longmont, and Boulder County allows for greater coordination of homelessness services and resources.

Council memos related to homelessness can be found on the  Homelessness Council Memos webpage.

The purpose of the strategy is to:

  • Clarify city goals in addressing homelessness;
  • Maximize efficiency and effectiveness of city resources in reducing homelessness;
  • Engage community and regional partners broadly in solutions; and
  • Provide a strategic road map for city action on homelessness.

Status and Next Steps

The city has implemented multiple initiatives within the Homelessness Strategy, and Boulder has seen over 1,000 exits from homelessness between Oct. 2017 and Nov. 2020. The comprehensive approach includes expanding housing opportunities and homelessness prevention initiatives, maximizing system and client efficiency and effectiveness through partnerships, expanding public information about homelessness, and creating safe and welcoming public spaces. Specific work plan activities include:

 

  • The City of Boulder Housing Division has provided $969,875 to fund up to 48 Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers for those experiencing chronic homelessness in Boulder and to support re-housing for Ready to Work graduates. Locally funded Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers are utilized to target specific populations in Boulder who would not readily be served by vouchers provided by the State and Federal government.
  • Invest in housing that is not landlord-dependent for sex offenders or people with long criminal histories.
  • Create recovery housing opportunities for people who are experiencing chronic unsheltered homelessness and suffering from Methamphetamine addiction.
  • Analyze and implement policies that create housing opportunities for those earning 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and below, with priority for residents exiting transitional housing or qualifying for rapid rehousing.
  • Continue partnership with Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) Keep Families Housed program. The program aims to prevent families from becoming homeless with short-term rental assistance (up to three months) to retain current housing. Subsidies are tied to family participation in programs linked with family stability/well-being benchmarks, including child health and well-being, enrollment in eligible benefits, and parent completion of financial stability classes or sessions. The program was expanded to address needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current adult homeless services system was implemented on Oct. 1, 2017. Key components include:

Service

Brief Description

Boulder County Residency Requirement

Population Served

Coordinated Entry (CE)

Initial client screening for client access to sheltering and programs using a common assessment tool.

None

All single adults experiencing homelessness

Diversion Services

Helps people avoid entering the shelter system or long-term homelessness. Addresses immediate crises through problem solving and limited financial assistance. Guides clients to resources or supports, including helping them access other services such as family reunification, mediation, mental health services, transportation, or other services which meet their needs.

None

Open to all levels of Boulder County residency, but it is the primary service intervention for people who have not been Boulder County residents for six months or longer.

Navigation Services

Designed to quickly resolve a person’s homelessness with short term case management and sheltering.

Six or more months

Designed for individuals who do not have disabling conditions and do not have significant barriers to housing (i.e., newly experiencing homelessness, ability to obtain employment); 

Housing Focused Shelter (HFS)

Sheltering with significant case management and services to support basic needs, meet health care needs, and assist clients in exiting homelessness into housing. Clients may have access to reserved beds until housed.

Six or more months

Designed for individuals with disabling conditions and who have significant barriers to housing stability

Severe Weather Shelter (SWS)

Basic, life-safety sheltering during inclement weather. Persons who wish to utilize SWS are required to go through CE (with grace night provided) and can use the service for 30 nights.

None

All people experiencing homelessness who have been screened through CE but are not currently engaged with a program

Non-Congregate Shelter (NCS)

Protective shelter as a response to COVID-19. This is provided through hotel stays and was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in April 2020 for this purpose.

None

People experiencing homelessness who are at high risk of COVID-19 through age, underlying health conditions, etc.

COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC)

A non-medical facility for people experiencing homelessness to recover and rest whether they are symptomatic or positive for COVID-19. This includes referrals from shelters, hospitals, clinics, outreach, or other locations frequented by people experiencing homelessness.

None

People experiencing homelessness who are symptomatic or ill with COVID-19 but do not require hospitalization; people who are housed, ill, in need of isolation, and have no resources.

  • Improve real-time, integrated cross-system data to inform continuous service improvements and system adjustments through the Boulder County Connect Client Portal and report on outcomes.
  • Restructure HSBC for increased voice of persons with lived experience and effective evaluation of emerging best practices.
  • Continue structured case conferencing system for housing placement and prioritization.
  • Improve training for case management and develop robust, coordinated standards of care
  • Implement approved severe weather sheltering criteria.
  • Provide diverse and ongoing methods for public communications on resources and system services available to the public.
  • Identify additional mechanisms for data collection and analysis.
  • Prioritize Municipal Court and services high utilizers of emergency services for long-term shelter and housing to prevent or reduce time in the justice system.
  • Continue justice system partnerships to improve homelessness outcomes through the Boulder Police Department Homeless Outreach Team (HOT Team), the Boulder Municipal Court Homeless Navigator.
  • Fully implement the Boulder Targeted Homeless Engagement & Referral Effort (BTHERE) program
  • Establish in-person Coordinated Entry services at a new location and more fully utilize Coordinated Entry services for referrals to other, non-system resources.

 

As opportunities have arisen, initiatives have been developed and implemented with city and community partners, in all areas of the Homelessness Strategy. 

Council Action

  • June 2018 – Council Update - Homelessness Strategy Implementation Update: Coordinated Entry and Severe Weather Shelter
  • September 2018 – Council Information Packet, Homelessness Strategy Update
  • December 2018 - Council Information Packet –Homelessness Strategy Implementation Update, Year 1
  • March 19, 2019 – Council Update – Support of Homeless Solutions for Boulder County Adjustments to the Adult Homeless Services System Based on the First Year Review
  • January 7, 2020 – Council Update – Homelessness Strategy Update
  • July 14, 2020 – Council Study Session – Study Session Regarding Homelessness Strategy
  • August 4, 2020 – Council Update – Study Session Summary on Homelessness Strategy
  • September 22, 2020 – Council Study Session - Study Session for 2020-2021 Severe Weather Shelter and Winter Homeless Service Operations
  • October 6, 2020 – Council Update – Study Session Summary on 2020-2021 Severe Weather Shelter and Winter Homeless Service Operations
  • January 19, 2021 – Council Information Packet – Severe Weather Shelter Update

Contact

Vicki Ebner, Homeless Initiatives Program Manager,  [email protected] , 303-518-6587