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Will Statewide Federal Grants Help the Homeless in Denver?

The state of Colorado receives funding via grants each year to help the growing population of those who are homeless in Denver. This year, the state will receive some $23.8 million to help provide shelter, food, and other necessities to the homeless population. Will this be enough to make a difference?

homeless in DenverA Good Start

According to Gary Sanford, the executive director of the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, or MDHI, these funds will do little to make a big impact on the homeless in Denver. The MDHI makes recommendations to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, regarding the Denver programs that should receive this funding. Yesterday, on March 8, HUD announced that it would provide some $23 million to 62 various homeless programs in Colorado located in Colorado Springs, Denver, and rural communities.

About the Continuum of Care Grants

The funding provided to the State of Colorado from HUD is part of the Tier 1 Continuum of Care. HUD actually provides these grants each year in two tiers, which are incredibly competitive since each state in the country must compete for a share of the budget. In many cases, states are forced to cut other beneficial programs in order to move more money toward those proven most effective in fighting homelessness. Last year, Colorado received a total of $25 million from both grant tiers.

How the Money Is Allocated

This year’s $23.8 million grant has already been accounted for. $19 million will go to Denver, which is about $1.5 million more than the city received in 2015. Gary Sanford states that the funds will go toward three brand new projects in Denver and the surrounding areas. They are:

  • Home at Last – This is a project aimed toward helping survivors and victims of domestic abuse get back on their feet and into suitable shelter. It will receive a total of $359,640.
  • Boulder City Rapid Housing – This program will help individuals with children, medical needs, or other immediate needs find quick housing. It will receive $680,560.
  • Aurora at Home – Part of the funds will go toward the Aurora Mental Health Center, which provides services to help people maintain their homes. It will receive $533,622.

Taking the Pressure Off the Shelters

Although Denver is home to numerous homeless shelters that provide comfort, food, and even counseling services to the homeless population, the fact of the matter is that most of these shelters struggle to meet the immediate needs and often fail to do so. According to Sanford, adding new programs designed to help people find permanent housing will take some of the burden off of the shelters, allowing them to better serve those who have the greatest need.

Both rents and home prices continue to climb in the area, which makes it difficult for various organizations to compete for the right to help house the homeless in Denver. It is hoped that this year’s grants from HUD and the variety of new projects will help ease the strain and reduce the number of people living on the streets.

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