East County Gazette

Through 2030, Denver Will House Chronically Homeless People

Non-profit groups in Denver have been awarded contracts to continue grant-funded programs that will house the homeless while they face the most difficult challenges through 2030.

Denver’s homeless remain trapped in a cycle of court cases and jail time without access to mental health services. A federal grant from the Department of Treasury’s Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act. SIPRA pays for the homeless to be housed and offers Medicaid savings for those who get care.

According to Newsbreak, Denver’s SIPRA, known as Housing to Health, has served more than 300 people since it launched in 2016. Among these clients are the highest users of expensive services, such as ambulances and emergency rooms. The costs of incarceration are also very high.

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Mental Health Center of Denver, and Denver Health are subcontractors to the Corporation for Supportive Housing of New York firm for a contract worth $5.5 million.

Housing to Health will be evaluated periodically by the Urban Institute under an $826,800 grant awarded on Monday.

Data Predicts Promising results

A previous evaluation of Housing to Health was conducted by the Urban Institute, chosen by the government to assess the program’s effectiveness. Data indicated that the program saved Denver money and that 85 percent of participants remained in their homes after three years. Additionally, the data disclosed:

  • 44 percent of those in housing did not return to prison after one year.
  • To date, the city has paid $1,025,968 to eight private investors who participated in the program. Denver could save anything from $3 million to $15 million by alleviating the homelessness-jail cycle.
  • As a result of Housing to Health, the Urban Institute found that clients’ health has improved and their access to health services has increased, resulting in decreased visits to detoxification centers and hospital emergency rooms.

The findings revealed the program’s success and “disrupt the false narratives that homelessness is an unsolvable problem and that people who experience chronic homelessness choose to live on the street,” the first evaluation concluded.

“Expanding investments in supportive housing could end homelessness, break the homelessness-jail cycle, and shift resources away from policing and other costly emergency services toward services that focus on housing, well-being, and the prevention of negative outcomes for residents and communities.”

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