The objective of this council priority is to open a daytime facility for resource navigation and other services to assist individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

  1. Plan

  2. Community Engagement

  3. Design

  4. Implement

Project Overview

The goal of the Homelessness Day Services Center is to serve as a welcoming and inclusive space where individuals experiencing homelessness can engage with service providers in a single location. The center will aim to build a sense of healthy community, meet people where they are on their housing journey, replace unproductive habits with productive habits and provide participants with a path to housing.

At its 2022 retreat, City Council identified the creation of a Day Services Center for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the City of Boulder as a priority. Council asked city staff to conduct community and stakeholder engagement to determine the location and program priorities for the day center.

Timeline

  • April to June 2022: Hire staff for additional capacity, design community engagement plan and hire consultant
  • August 2022: Community engagement, complete scope and services
  • November 2022: Present Community Outreach Report to City Council
  • December 2022: Release RFP seeking a service provider
  • Early 2023: Select service provider
  • Second Quarter 2023: Begin to source resources and facility in collaboration with service provider, identify location of the center
  • Fourth Quarter 2023: Exploring possible locations for the establishment of the Homelessness Day Services Center

Engagement

The city’s Housing and Human Services Department hired Trestle Strategy Group to conduct a community and stakeholder consultation to determine the location and program priorities for the Homelessness Day Services Center. Community members were invited to attend a focus group or complete a questionnaire to share their feedback on the center.

Feedback was collected from community members, service providers and individuals with lived experience, and compiled into a Community Outreach Report.

Community Outreach Report Summary

The community engagement conducted by Trestle Strategy Group aimed to answer two questions:

  1. What programming and services should be offered at the day center to create self-sufficiency and provide a path to housing?

  1. What would be the ideal physical characteristics of the day center (size, function, affinities with other land uses, etc.)?

In addition to input on these two questions, Trestle received general feedback on the project, which has been captured in the Community Outreach Report appendices.

Key feedback themes include:

  • The top services that should be provided at the day center include bathroom and shower facilities, laundry, safe storage, meal services and access to social workers, case managers, coordinated entry and medically trained staff. Other ideas included mental health support and addiction counseling.

  • To measure success, community members identified the following as the most important metrics to track: reduction in encampments, number of people entering housing solutions, reduced emergency room visits and quality of life improvements.

  • Access to bus and transportation networks, accessibility for people with disabilities and adjacency to other services (social, medical) were identified as the most important physical for the day center.

Next Steps

The city released an RFP in December 2022 for a service provider to operate the Homelessness Day Services Center. The city did not receive any proposals or questions from interested operators by the closing date of the RFP.

In early 2023, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (BSH) expressed interest in moving forward with the next steps of operating a day services center in Boulder. Staff is working with BSH to explore a formal agreement for BSH to operate the Homelessness Day Services Center.

Staff have also submitted an application to the state of Colorado Department of Local Affairs for state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support the operations of the center.

Frequently Asked Questions

In 2017, the City of Boulder approved a comprehensive Homelessness Strategy built around the belief that all Boulder community members should have the opportunity for a safe and stable place to live. The strategy expands pathways to permanent housing and increases access to programs and services for our unsheltered community. The planning and implementation of the Homelessness Day Services Center was identified as a priority by City Council in 2022.

Staff is currently working to identify a location for the center.

Previously, the city announced that the center would be located at 1844 Folsom Street. In July 2023, staff was notified by the owner and developer of the site on Folsom that they had changed their direction on their development approach and had withdrawn their intention to develop it for day services in combination with affordable housing.

During outreach conducted in August 2022, community members, service providers and individuals with lived homelessness experience provided feedback about what characteristics would be important for a day center location. Engagement feedback was summarized in the Community Outreach Report, released in October 2022. Top considerations included:

  • Easy access to transportation networks

  • Building accessibility for people with disabilities

  • Near social and medical services

  • Near housing options so newly housed individuals can continue to access support services

  • Centrally located and connected to the community

Additionally, to help prioritize potential properties, city staff created evaluation criteria to identify key property characteristics for a successful and effective day shelter. This included size, Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, distance from public transportation and schools/day care, zoning, affordability and whether the property would be purchased or leased. Full evaluation criteria, including a list of all properties explored, is available here.

The Planning Board and City Council do not need to approve the location of the Homelessness Day Services Center. The city’s land use code defines where uses are permitted within the city.

Day shelter uses are a ‘conditional use’ at this location, a Business - Regional 1 (BR-1) zone district. Conditional uses require an administrative review by city staff to evaluate compliance with specific use standards. In this case, the Homelessness Day Services Center must meet the standards of Section 9-6-4(e) of the land use code. If the center operator demonstrates compliance with this criteria city staff is obligated to approve the use. As part of the administrative review process, the center will be required to prepare a management plan and hold a good neighbor meeting.

A good neighbor meeting is required to ensure that the operator is informed of the effects of their use upon neighboring properties and educated about ways to mitigate, reduce, or eliminate potential impacts upon neighboring properties. The operator will be prepared to discuss operating characteristics and will present a proposed management plan. The purpose of the meeting is to give neighbors of the center an opportunity to share their concerns with the operator and to provide comments on the management plan.

Following use approval and management plan approval, the operator will be required to submit a building permit application for improvements to the structure/site and to demonstrate compliance with life safety standards. The Homelessness Day Services Center cannot begin operation until the required work is completed and inspected by the city.

The city is working with Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (BSH) to explore a formal agreement for BSH to operate the center.

City Council, supported by input from community members, stakeholders, and service providers, directed staff to create a space that is low-barrier, welcoming and trauma informed. The Day Services Center will allow entry without limits, while maintaining rules and policies necessary for the safety of other facility users and staff. This includes prohibiting possession or use of substances, no violent or disruptive behavior and no weapons. The focus is on behavior that is disruptive or threatening, not on individuals themselves.

Once contracted, the operator will determine the center’s hours and work with community organizations to provide an array of services.

The Day Services Center is a place where unhoused people can access a variety of services during daytime hours. The coordination of multiple housing and social services is the primary reason for this center. The center will focus on housing-related case management, Coordinated Entry and related services. More details will be shared as information on these services becomes available.

People are encouraged to go to the nighttime shelter. Proposed day center hours were designed to facilitate stays at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Transportation from the center to the Boulder Shelter may be provided in conjunction with the daily closing of the center. 

Because this type of comprehensive programming has never been provided in Boulder, expected daily usage is currently an estimate. Staff estimate that between 80-130 individuals will access the center intermittently throughout the day. 

How can I provide feedback?

We welcome your feedback, questions and comments. You can share your feedback with council and/or staff through the city’s Contact City Council and Staff Form which is available on the city’s website.

Learn more about Homelessness in Boulder

If you are interested in learning more about Homelessness in Boulder, visit the city's website.