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In Focus: Denver

Countering high homelessness rates with pathways to self-sufficiency

With Denver’s beautiful Rocky Mountain backdrop and booming job market, one might think the city has just the right ingredients for success. But Denver has a homelessness problem. The city has one of the largest homelessness rates among major cities in the country in terms of homeless veterans, unaccompanied homeless youth, and homeless people in families with children, according to a 2016 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Report (The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, November 2016). Rising housing prices and an inadequate amount of safe, affordable rental housing are helping fuel the crisis.

“The stark reality is that homelessness isn’t going to be solved without finding sustainable solutions, such as combining affordable housing with workforce training for single parents,” said Joe Rosica, McGowan Fund board member and longtime Eagle County, Colorado, resident. “And it’s not just about people on the street tonight. It’s about people who already lack access to affordable housing, who work but do not make a living wage, and who are sleeping in their cars: these folks are a heartbeat from landing on the street. The daily situation people face is complicated and sometimes invisible to a community.”

In response to the crisis, the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund is supporting organizations in Denver and Eagle County, Colorado, such as The Delores Project, which provides safe shelter and transitional services to women and transgender individuals, and Warren Village, a residential community helping single-parent families achieve sustainable self-sufficiency.