Free event connects people experiencing homelessness to much-needed health, legal, employment,
and wellness resources
For those who are living without a home in Denver, accessing simple necessities can be a monumental task requiring time, transportation, and resources they just don’t have. On Tuesday, September 19, the City and County of Denver, in partnership with Mile High United Way, aims to close the access gap by bringing more than 100 service providers together at the Colorado Convention Center for Project Homeless Connect 2017 (PHC 2017). These service providers will provide free resources and resource navigation to more than one thousand people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Nearly 20 percent of Denver respondents to the annual Point in Time study report job loss or inability to find work as a contributing factor to homelessness. PHC 2017 provides homeless families and individuals access to crucial employment resources and many other basic services in one place, removing the barriers of time and transportation and connecting people to more resources in a shorter period of time.
“Project Homeless Connect is a one-stop-shop that connects our most vulnerable residents with the crucial services and resources they need to get back on their feet,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “It’s a perfect example of what can be achieved when city agencies, community organizations and Denver residents come together with a common goal.”
PHC 2017 will be held on Tuesday, September 19 at the Colorado Convention Center from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. PHC 2017 will be staffed by hundreds of volunteers and will include representatives from more than 100 community organizations and roughly 30 local employers or recruiters.
The free one-day event is open to people of all ages who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. During the event, individuals and families are paired, one-on-one, with volunteers who help them access dozens of vital resources and services, including basic medical exams, employment advice and services, food assistance, official identification, public benefits, hygiene items, haircuts, and other community-provided services.
Who: Speaking at the Welcome Ceremony will be:
Chris Conner, Interim Director of Denver’s Road Home
What: Project Homeless Connect 17
When: Tuesday, September 19 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Welcome Ceremony begins at 9:45 a.m.
Where: Colorado Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C
Changes Made to Continue Improvements to City Homeless Services and Sheriff Department Community Engagement
Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced several changes to continue improving services for people experiencing homelessness and to better connect law enforcement with Denver’s diverse communities.
Bennie Milliner, who has served as director of Denver’s Road Home since 2012, is joining the Denver Sheriff Department as Director of Community Engagement. He will be responsible for improving communication, transparency, outreach and anti-recidivism efforts. An Air Force veteran, Milliner previously served in community liaison roles for U.S. Senators Ken Salazar and Michael Bennet. He also served on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education from 1996 to 2001.
Chris Conner, who joined Denver’s Road Home in 2011 as program administrator, will become interim director to lead homeless shelter and services coordination. As a former youth outreach worker, Conner has years of experience working with people experiencing homelessness and understanding the importance of providing individualized services through coordinated system integration.
Along with these changes, planning is underway to transition the work of Denver's Road Home to an office within the Department of Human Services. This office will focus on the most effective, strategic delivery of services and continue to coordinate the work of shelter and service providers for those experiencing homelessness, including working closely with the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies.
Project Homeless Connect is a free resource fair for homeless and at-risk individuals and families. During this one day event, on Tuesday, September 19, clients are able to access an array of services ranging from ID services, housing services, resume workshops, clothing banks, vision check and healthcare to veterans services, childcare, petcare and much more. They are expecting to see 1,000 clients at this year’s event and need nearly as many volunteers to make the day a success.
At the link below you can sign up for one of the shifts available throughout the day.
If you have never volunteered before, they recommend you take one of their trainings, however it is not mandatory. Trainings are listed in the link above.
Two pilot projects add 210 storage units for those connecting to jobs and health services
The City and County of Denver, through Denver’s Road Home and the Office of Housing & Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE), is adding 210 new storage units for people experiencing homelessness through two pilot projects announced today: a sidewalk storage pilot and expansion of day shelter storage.
“A person living without a home currently has few options to safely store their personal belongings,” said Office of HOPE Executive Director Erik Soliván. “Those experiencing homelessness have told us that not having a place where they can safely store their belongings can be barrier to them obtaining a good job, shelter at night, and good health. We listened, and we’re bringing that barrier down. These two pilot projects will increase safe, secure storage for a short time while people engage in work, health services and shelter.”
Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Erik Soliván, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing & Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE), today launched a new strategy aimed at helping Denver residents experiencing homelessness or struggling to make ends meet.
The city’s strategy will go beyond a housing-first approach, and focus efforts on connecting individuals and families to affordable housing, healthy living and good paying jobs. The new approach for Denver will integrate all three factors to empower people to lead vibrant lives no matter their station in life.
“We want our residents to have the opportunity to turn a house into a home, and truly thrive in our city,” Mayor Hancocksaid. “To give people the chance to build a home, build their lives and build their futures, we must go beyond putting a roof over someone’s head. This is a new approach to leveraging our resources and coordinating department work to connect our people with good jobs, good health and a good home. When these three needs are met, people are empowered to succeed.”
Mayor Hancock and Soliván detailed the strategy and supporting action plan at the city’s third annual Housing Summit.The Office of HOPE will lead the work of leveraging public and private partner programs and resources to provide:
Denver is experiencing a historic low for inventory and high cost of homeownership with median sale prices exceeding $350,000. And according to the Denver Housing Authority, a minimum of 21,000 affordable units are needed to meet the current housing demand. This need impacts everyone from those in our shelters to workers on construction sites, teachers, firefighters, police officers and the service industry.
The population of those who are homeless has also changed in recent years:
Under the three priority areas of affordable housing, healthy living and good paying jobs, the Office of HOPE, working across agencies, compiled a list of 30 short-term actions to improve and expand city and partner services throughout the end of the year. Short-term actions include:
Health and Supportive Services
For the full list of short-term action items go to: www.DenverGov.org/HOPE.
“The strategy and actions reflect the feedback of our partners, communities and city agencies,” Soliván said. “We are grateful for their hard work and ongoing support, and know that by working together, we can do more to build a safer, healthier and stronger Denver.”
This new strategy will also work with the Mayor’s mobility efforts to ensure the city is providing more and better transportation options for families and individuals where limited options may be impacting their ability to find affordable housing and good jobs.
Today, the City and County of Denver invests more in affordable housing and homelessness than ever before. The new strategy builds and expands on the considerable work by the city and partners in the areas of affordable housing, job training and health services over the last six years.
For a list of that work go to www.DenverGov.org/HOPE.
GIVE Denver invites community to donate hygiene items for people in need. Denver Human Services’ (DHS) GIVE Denver program helped thousands of people obtain basic hygiene items in 2016, thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors. DHS’ Give Denver is kicking off the third annual Spring Showers Hygiene Drive today with a goal of bringing in donations to support even more people in the coming year.
“For people living without a home, simple things like taking a bath, brushing your teeth or caring for your personal needs can be very difficult and can be a barrier to making progress with their lives,” said DHS Executive Director Don Mares. “We feel strongly that all people should have access to basic human needs and appreciate our community for supporting our work to provide basic hygiene items for those in need in Denver.”
Thanks to donors, GIVE Denver provides the items for free to families and individuals served by DHS. In 2016, hundreds of Denver residents donated nearly 1800 gallons of hygiene items, including essentials like diapers, socks, and bathroom tissue during the Spring Showers Hygiene Drive.
The third annual Spring Showers Hygiene Drive runs through May 12. People may donate items at a number of locations or they may make a monetary donation to GIVE Denver which will be used to purchase hygiene supplies needed throughout the year.
GIVE Denver is in need of the following items: hand sanitizer; Kleenex; toilet paper; tampons and sanitary pads; combs and brushes; razors, shaving cream and lotion; baby diapers and wipes; toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwash; shampoo, conditioner, soap and body wash.
To donate hygiene items, a monetary gift or an online, tax deductible donation to support the GIVE Denver Spring Showers Hygiene Drive, please visit www.denvergov.org/GIVE or call (720) 944-GIVE. Donations may be dropped off in any of the collection bin locations throughout Denver or at the GIVE Center on the first floor of the Denver Human Services Richard T. Castro Building at 1200 Federal Blvd.
Two new pocket-sized tools are aiding city employees and Denver residents in their efforts to help those experiencing homelessness. The Give a Better Way campaign, which aims to raise awareness about how to support community efforts to help the homeless, is broadening its work with new tools for park rangers, police officers and community members to connect residents to the resources they need.
The new Shelter and Services Resource Guide may be small enough to fit in a pocket, but it features a wide variety of information on shelters, medical and mental health care, benefits assistance, domestic violence support and other services in an easy-to-access format. The guide provides officers, park rangers and outreach workers on the street with a quick and easy tool to connect homeless residents with the closest available services.
Additionally, the campaign’s new Guide to Giving helps residents learn how to best support people who are experiencing homelessness through donations of their time, money, food or goods. Donations support more than 20 community partners who provide shelter, job training, meals, housing and other resources to help get people who are experiencing homelessness get back on their feet.
“By placing information at everyone’s fingertips, we’re making it easier for anyone to connect and contribute to the community supporting our homeless residents,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said.
Denver residents have many ways to donate and make a difference in the lives of people in need.
Outreach Court gives people an easier way to access the legal system
DENVER — The City and County of Denver has a new program to help people experiencing homelessness gain better access to the county court system and avoid deeper involvement with the criminal justice system.
Denver Outreach Court is designed to increase stabilization and reduce future interactions with the justice system for individuals experiencing homelessness or receiving homeless or transitional services. The court helps individuals take action on municipal level citations or warrants and provides direct access to mental health services and enrollment in Medicaid. Community service options are also available to complete court requirements. Instead of requiring people to come to a courthouse, which for those experiencing homelessness can often be difficult, the Outreach Court is held every other Wednesday at Denver Rescue Mission.
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