Although most agree homelessness is a growing problem in Greeley, a lack of interest in the problem at the county level can pose a challenge as the city seeks solutions, a Denver-based advisory group found.
Urbanity Advisors hosted its second homelessness community forum on Wednesday, highlighting possible options it may propose to City Council more formally in the near future.
As part of the City of Greeley’s efforts to address the city’s growing homelessness, they hired Urbanity Advisors to get a better picture of the problem and suggest some solutions. Urbanity hosted two community engagement sessions in March, one in person and one online, to learn more about community perceptions of homelessness.
The group presented their findings on Wednesday.
Most survey respondents believe homelessness is a growing problem in Greeley. Respondents consistently cited housing costs, mental health and substance abuse as contributing factors.
Urbanity also conducted stakeholder interviews that analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of overall efforts to end homelessness.
Terrell Curtis conducted the stakeholder interviews.
“As far as threats go, there really has been so little,” she said.
But one of the biggest has been the lack of county-level interest and involvement in solving the problem of homelessness, she said, as homelessness is often seen as Greeley’s problem to be solved.
The report called it “county-level withdrawal.”
James Roy II, the founder of Urbanity Advisors, gave a brief presentation of three models that the advisory group identified as possible options that Greeley might consider in the future.
We can expect a more formal presentation to be made and considered at a future City Council meeting, but for now here’s what we know.
Arroyo Village in Denver
The Denver-based project, which opened in 2019, was co-developed by Rocky Mountain Communities and The Delores Project, according to The Delores Project’s website.
The aim of the village is to take care of people with housing instability.
The village’s website says it includes new housing, as well as 35 permanent low-income units for the homeless and 95 affordable housing units for individuals and families in the workforce.
“By creating Arroyo Village in partnership with Rocky Mountain Communities, The Delores Project is able to ensure that 35 people who have experienced homelessness have access to very low-income housing,” the website reads. “These individuals receive on-site supportive services to ensure their ongoing physical and behavioral health needs, life skills and social engagement – all of which are critical to maintaining housing – are met.”
The project was publicly funded through the federal tax credit program for low-income housing.
Center Bridge of Hope
The Bridge of Hope Center is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is part of the Bay Area Rescue Mission.
The center, which was recently built, is a 10,000-square-foot, two-story building with 26 bedrooms and a total capacity of 114 beds, according to a Richmond Standard report.
The shelter serves women and children, who make up 60% of the Bay Area’s homeless population, according to the report.
The center offers classes, counseling, job training, programs for children with a focus on education and emotional well-being, referrals to health services, assistance in finding affordable housing, and more.
Housing First strategy
The Santa Rosa, California City Council passed a Housing First strategy in 2017, according to the city’s website.
The idea behind the strategy is to get people into stable housing, funded by the city, as quickly as possible – meaning the person without housing does not have to change their behavior or do anything to earn a place .
“Access to programs is not conditional on sobriety, minimum income requirements, no criminal record, completion of treatment, participation in services, or other unnecessary conditions,” the city said.
Boulder’s Lee Hill provides another example of a housing first strategy.
Construction on the Lee Hill property began in 2013 and opened in 2014. The two-story apartment building offers 31 fully furnished one-bedroom apartments to support the chronically homeless, according to its website.
To stay updated
To stay up to date on what the city is doing, when meetings are being held and what decisions are being made, go to greeleygov.com/government/cmo/special-programs/homeless-and-housing-services.
— Kelly Ragan is the founder and editor-in-chief of the NoCo Optimist. Normally she is responsible for the government of Greeley and Weld County. Do you have a tip? Let her know at TheNoCoOptimist@gmail.com. Do you like this coverage? Tell the Greeley Tribune so they keep her around. For more NoCo Optimist content, visit www.thenocooptimist.com.