City of Boulder Homelessness Strategy

The strategy addresses homelessness in the City of Boulder and complements regional homelessness efforts.

  1. Community Engagement

  2. Design

  3. Plan

  4. Implement

Current Phase

Project Overview

Boulder's Homelessness Strategy was developed based on best practices, research and meeting local needs. Since the development of its Homelessness Strategy in 2017, Boulder has seen over 1,000 exits from homelessness (as of Nov. 2020).


As part of Homeless Solutions for Boulder County (HSBC), a collaboration between the City of Boulder, the City of Longmont and Boulder County, the city has worked to expand housing opportunities and homelessness prevention, maximize efficiency and effectiveness through partnerships, expand public information and create safe and welcoming public spaces.

Homelessness Strategy Goals

Goal 1: Expand Pathways to Permanent Housing and Retention

  • Provide Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers for those experiencing chronic homelessness in Boulder and to support re-housing for Ready to Work graduates ($969,875 to fund up to 48 vouchers has been provided).
  • 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% of the Area Median Income and below, with priority for those exiting transitional housing or qualifying for rapid rehousing.

Goal 2: Expand Access to Programs and Services to Reduce or Prevent Homelessness

  • 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.

Goal 3: Support an Efficient and Effective Services System Based on Best Practice and Data Driven Results


Brief Description

Boulder County Residency Requirement

Population Served

Coordinated Entry (CE)

Initial screening for access to shelter and programs.


All single adults experiencing homelessness.

Diversion Services

Addresses immediate crises through problem-solving, financial assistance and connection to resources for mediation, family reunification, mental health and transportation to help people avoid entering the shelter system or homelessness.


Open to all Boulder County residency.

Primary service 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

For individuals who do not have disabling conditions and do not have significant barriers to housing.

Housing Focused Shelter (HFS)

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

Six or more months

For individuals with disabling conditions with significant barriers to housing stability.

Severe Weather Shelter (SWS)

Life-safety shelter during inclement weather. Must go through CE (with grace night provided) and can use for 30 nights.


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.


People experiencing homelessness who are at high risk of COVID-19.

  • 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.

Goal 4: Support Access to a Continuum of Basic Services as Part of a Pathway to Self-Sufficiency and Stability

  • Improve training for case management and develop robust, coordinated standards of care
  • Implement approved severe weather sheltering criteria.

Goal 5: Support Access to Public Information about Homelessness and Community Solutions

  • 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.

Goal 6: Create Public Spaces that are Welcoming and Safe

  • Prioritize Municipal Court and 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.