Addressing Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention in Colorado Springs

Nonprofit organizations in Colorado Springs, CO are making a concerted effort to tackle the issues of affordable housing and homelessness prevention. The City and County of Denver have created a supportive housing program called Denver Housing to Health, which links homeless individuals and families to shelters and services to help them achieve stability and develop a plan for the future. Cathy Alderman, from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, has urged Congress to provide emergency rental assistance to keep Coloradans safe and secure in their homes. Neighbor to Neighbor, a Larimer County not-for-profit housing service provider, has prevented more than 6,000 evictions, assisted over 400 households with the costs of relocating rental housing, and provided utility assistance to more than 600 households during the pandemic. The State of Colorado has implemented several initiatives to address homelessness.

Governor Jared Polis announced the formation of a new temporary working group within the Department of Local Affairs to investigate housing instability due to COVID-19 in Colorado. Mountain West states have some type of rental assistance program, but housing advocates hope that these programs will receive adequate funding to meet current needs. The Colorado Homeless Coalition is conducting COVID-19 testing at one of its health centers in Denver. The Office of Homeless Youth Services (OHYS) has developed and implemented the Colorado Homeless Youth Action Plan on an annual basis. This state plan contains numerous key prevention and intervention strategies designed to collaboratively and comprehensively address the problem of homelessness among young people in Colorado.

Referrals are made through regional coordinated income systems, the Division of Child Welfare and the Office of Behavioral Health of the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Adult Probation Division of the Colorado Department of Corrections, and entities that provide long-term support and services for people who need help maintaining their housing. HUD funding helps two local service providers that conduct street outreach activities: The Place and the Colorado Springs Fire Department. The Denver Post reports on activists' worries that Colorado will experience an increase in homeless people next winter, as COVID-19 cases rise and protections against evictions expire. The Boulder Weekly reports that the Princeton University Evictions Laboratory predicts that, without more measures and support at the state level, Colorado could experience an increase in evictions in the coming weeks or months. Housing and homeless advocates in Colorado warn that the number of homeless people will increase unless Congress takes action. Nonprofit organizations in Colorado Springs are doing their part to address issues related to affordable housing and homelessness prevention.

Through initiatives such as Denver Housing to Health, Neighbor to Neighbor's eviction prevention program, and OHYS' Homeless Youth Action Plan, these organizations are providing much needed assistance to those in need. However, without significant federal intervention, it is likely that homelessness will continue to be a problem in Colorado.