Denver initiative to move chronically homeless people into housing shows “promising” early results

By: Jon Murray

Published: October 30, 2017

A Denver chronic-homelessness initiative that aims to keep participants in housing and out of jail has seen “promising” early results, according to evaluators hired to assess its performance.

The city said Monday it has cut the first check — amounting to $188,000 — to begin repaying philanthropic foundations and a national bank that fronted about $8.6 million in funding for the five-year program. Since launching in early 2016, the “housing-first” program has moved about 200 people into apartments that come with addiction and mental health services, with officials aiming to hit the initial target of 250 participants early next year.

“The first 18 months of the program provide promising evidence that the program is exceeding or meeting its housing stability goals,” said Sarah Gillespie, a senior research associate from the Urban Institute who was one of the report’s authors, during a media briefing. “So participants are getting housed and staying housed.”

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