Homelessness is now big business in Colorado with Denver and the state having already spent more than $600 million since last year to grow the problem by one-third across the seven-county metro region.
Denver’s newly minted Mayor Mike Johnston has promised to end “homelessness,” just as then mayor, and now U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper pledged to do the same thing nearly 20 years ago.
And yet here we are supporting, instead of ending the suffering of the mentally ill and substance abusers living in tent shanties on city sidewalks along the Front Range, and on public lands elsewhere in the state.
With Denver metro area homelessness growing from about 6,900 last year to 9,100 at last count in January, Johnston announced this week Denver taxpayers will spend yet another $562 million next year to support homelessness.
Johnston’s proposed budget also includes $115 million to subsidize housing and to offer services to those about to become homeless.
Plus, an additional $20 million for unhoused migrants bused by immigration advocates from the southern border.
Denverite reports it’s going to cost taxpayers $6.4 million just to reach out to tent dwellers and move them into all of the various shack cities, hotels and other subsidized housing services now utilized as homeless housing.
The money will be used to hire dozens of folks to work as housing navigators, behavioral health navigators, outreach workers, case managers, and one nurse.
We shit you not.
Bribing buddies with pizza and beer to help a person move is just too traumatic, apparently.
Councilmember Amanda Sawyer pointed out that the services being proposed through this agreement are already provided by several organizations throughout the city, such as the Early Intervention Team and the Denver Street Outreach Collaborative and Strategic Outreach to Large Encampments programs, both of which are partially run by the Coalition for the Homeless.
“We have already dumped significant amounts of money into this exact same thing,” Sawyer said. “Why are we not utilizing the resources we already have and the structures we already have in place instead of adding new money to a new contract to do this…Why are we continuing to have this fragmented silo system where we have multiple agencies and multiple teams doing multiple things for the same purpose?”
That’s a good question Councilwoman Sawyer. We looked up the tax filings of Coalition for the Homeless which is compiled by the liberal organization Pro Publica, and those folks are loaded!
Some lucky vendor is going to hit payday as well with $20 million being spent this year alone to buy “pallet” shelters that look like gardening sheds.
Weird how Colorado Democrats are only trying to put their homeless camps in poor and middle class neighborhoods.
Weird how none of their homeless camps are planned for areas with rich people.#copolitics pic.twitter.com/HkUxcX2vhW
— Mr T 2 (@GovtsTheProblem) September 14, 2023
From the Denver Gazette:
The mayor’s elaborate plans to replace illegal homeless camps around the city with supervised, temporary quarters — from motel rooms to city-run camps of “pallet shelters” — lack the one provision essential to getting the homeless back on their feet. There’s no screening for addiction or mental health issues and no requirement for treatment prior to placing people in housing. It’s part of the “housing first” philosophy — a dead end.
If spending on such folly actually worked, Denver would have spent its way out of homelessness many times over by now.
Homelessness has become a booming business for vendors and the so-called non-profit, non-government organizations.
We’re not so sure it’s not about solving the problem anymore, but rather to provide a continuing funding stream for Big Homeless to operate.