On June 20 , 2017, Council approved the Homelessness Strategy. The strategy is a City of Boulder specific plan to address homelessness and compliment other regional homelessness efforts. The strategy has been developed based on best practices, research, what’s worked in other communities, and local issues and needs.
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. 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 through the end of 2018 are:
- The City of Boulder Housing Division has provided $200,000 to fund up to 12 new Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers for those experiencing chronic homelessness in Boulder. This will be completed in partnership with Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Boulder Housing Partners These local vouchers will begin distribution in the first quarter of 2018.
- Identify resources to further support housing vouchers or provide financial subsidy for rents/security deposits.
- Invest 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.
- 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.
- Implement expanded access to mediation and conflict resolution services for housing retention.
- Partner 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. A report on the first-year program outcomes will be available in the second quarter of 2018.
The current adult homeless services system was implemented on Oct. 1, 2017. Key components include:
- Coordinated Entry - people seeking homeless services enter through designated community entry points, where they are assessed with common screening tools and matched with appropriate service and housing.
- Bridge House Path to Home Navigation Services - eliminates or reduces time in homeless services for people with lower needs that can resolve their housing crisis with limited, short-term assistance and shelter.
- Boulder Shelter for the Homeless Housing-Focused Shelter – provides longer-term sheltering and housing placement for moderate to high needs clients. Clients referred can access a reserved, ongoing bed while working on a permanent housing plan.
- Implement 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.
- Continue participation in metro Denver region OneHome regional housing placement system.
- Implementation of new adult emergency sheltering and services model in Boulder that focuses on coordinated entry, prioritizing resources and a housing path for higher-need people. Basic services for clients and coordination among service providers are improved including case management planning focused on exiting homelessness.
- Implement approved severe weather sheltering criteria.
- Provide diverse and ongoing methods for public communications on resources and system services available to the public.
- As data from the new system is available, system metrics and progress will be published and accessible to the public.
- 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.
As opportunities have arisen, initiatives have been developed and implemented with city and community partners, in all areas of the Homelessness Strategy.
- 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
Vicki Ebner, Homeless Initiatives Program Manager, [email protected] , 303-441-3161