Homelessness has become such a common site in Colorado’s major metro areas that many folks look right through the squaller without seeing the individual, the suffering human beings who are truly in need of emergency help.

But Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman sees it.

PeakNation will recall Coffman lived as a homeless veteran for several weeks following the first COVID Christmas.

The Iraq and Gulf War veteran wanted to get at the root of the homelessness crisis along the Front Range, rather than just take the word of paid advocates who lobby for taxpayer dollars others.

And so it was Coffman who spotted a homeless man in distress Tuesday while driving down East Iliff Avenue on the corner of Chambers Road.

“I pulled into the parking lot and found him conscious and breathing but with a very large wound on the top of his head. Sadly, he appeared to be homelessness,” Coffman said in a social media post.

“I immediately called 911 and before I got off the phone with the dispatch operator, an engine truck from Station 7 was pulling up and the firefighters rapidly responded to treat the injured man and transport him to an emergency room via a Falck ambulance,” Coffman said.

The mayor praised Aurora Fire Rescue for their quick action. One need only look at the photo to see the seriousness of the head wound.

Coffman has taken some flak at times for his realistic stance on handling the growing homelessness situation in Aurora.

Every time Coffman shows real compassion, his critics howl like a pack of wounded hyenas.

Most recently, Coffman participated in a metro Chamber panel with newly crowned Denver Mayor Mike Johnston, on which the topic turned to homelessness and whether both municipalities working together could solve the problem.

In covering the event, The Gazette noted Johnston is pursuing a leftist approach that pursues an ambitious “housing first” strategy. That way gets everyone under a roof first, then deals with their problems of drug abuse, mental illness, or joblessness and ability to pay rent or utility bills.

Aurora operates under a divided city council that under Coffman’s leadership offers emergency services to those who require it. But when it comes to housing, they treat the drug and mental health problems first and help folks get jobs first before moving them into permanent housing.

At the chamber event, Coffman spoke about Aurora’s “treatment-first” approach, saying homelessness is a behavioral health crisis in addition to being a symptom of housing affordability woes. The city might need to pursue some “tough love,” as it takes a more aggressive strategy on trespassing, camping and getting people into treatment, Coffman said.


“We do have two very different approaches. I mean, housing first, treatment first,” Coffman said. “But I wish them the best and I hope it works.”

Which brings us to this headline in Tuesday’s Gazette:

Five years after roaming the streets of San Francisco as a homeless person struggling with heroin and fentanyl addiction, Tom Wolf offered a stark message to Denver Mayor Mike Johnston: His “housing first” approach to solving the homeless crisis won’t work.

Not unless, Wolf said, the city tackles what he describes as the root cause of homelessness — drug addiction and mental health.

“Johnston is going to be scratching his head as to why homelessness isn’t gone in four years,” Wolf said at a town hall Tuesday hosted by The Denver Gazette and Colorado Politics, referring to Johnston’s promise to eradicate homelessness by the end of his first term in office.

Coffman is right to go the treatment first route.

Hopefully, Denver will listen, and follow suit.

Shoving folks under roofs of what will surely turn into ghetto housing just to get them out of sight and then count those numbers as a success is not the solution to the street epidemic plaguing cities like Denver, San Fransisco, and New York.