Our Approach

The City of Boulder, like many communities throughout the country, struggles with homelessness. We work in partnership with Boulder County and area agencies to diligently provide services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or trying to avert becoming unhoused.

It is important for us to be clear that individuals experiencing homelessness in public places is not the issue. However, the day-to-day living and belongings – tents, clothing, bicycles, shopping carts, etc, -- that some individuals are storing in the floodplain, public areas or rights of way pose a significant hazard and in many cases impede access for all the public to enjoy. These items are not permitted and are subject to immediate removal by the city. The city wants and needs to continue to address these instances.

Removal of an unsanctioned campground is done as a last resort when the occupants are resistant to services and refuse to vacate. Committed to compassion, we issue multiple soft notices in advance of a formal notice. With each round of notice, we attempt to engage people in resources. The cleanup day is the last step of a long process. Vacated residents may take their belongings with them, and city crews address any remaining items.

It is the policy of the City of Boulder to legally and compassionately prevent and disband unsanctioned campsites as quickly as possible to avoid harm to inhabitants, the broader community, as well as public spaces and natural resources. We hope the information on this page is helpful. This is a complex topic, and the city is spending considerable time and energy addressing it.

Library underpass skate area
Jonathan Thornton

Library underpass skate area.

Safe and Welcoming Spaces

The City of Boulder leverages a multi-department cleanup team that focuses on the creek corridors and park area downtown.

We have a formula for prioritizing which areas get cleaned up and we follow strict notification protocols and procedures. The unsanctioned camping does reoccur, and we continuously respond to inquiries and prioritize the work.

Directed patrols are conducted as staffing allows in an effort to keep spaces open and safe for public use.

This work is supported by outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness to engage them with services, shelter and housing.

Safe Management of Public Spaces Data Dashboard

The data provided on this dashboard visually depicts locations of confirmed unsanctioned campsites and the related city staff response.

Safe Management of Public Spaces Data Dashboard