Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 15, 20183min1816

Lakewood is wary of a homeless advocacy group’s plans for a 59-acre site near the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood.

Earlier this month, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless revealed its preliminary plans for the Lakewood parcel, which could include a solar-powered campus with trailers, geodesic domes and tents as an initial build-out, eventually adding some 600 affordable and supportive housing units.

City officials like Councilwoman Ramey Johnson have said they aren’t on board with the proposed use of the parcel. And more recently, we learned some Lakewood residents have notions about what CCH’s plan for housing and services for those experiencing homelessness would do to the neighborhood.

The Lakewood Sentinel’s Clarke Reader has been following the developments surrounding the Federal Center parcel and detailed CCH’s first public hearing last week:

“You’re going to bring in mentally ill people, drug addicts and who knows what else, all of whom have been chased out of Denver,” said resident Jerry Wilson. “When is enough enough?”

The coalition held the meeting as part of the application process to take ownership of the property.

“With housing prices going through the roof in the Denver area, we’re seeing more and more people becoming homeless, especially families. For many, this is their first time experiencing it,” John Parvensky, the coalition’s president and CEO, said at the beginning of the meeting. “According to Jeffco schools, there are as many 2,700 homeless students in the school district, and we want to help all these people find a stable place to stay.”

Most of the speakers who opposed the proposal — many vehemently so — were less concerned about families than about homeless from other counties and cities gathering in one place in the middle of Lakewood. One speaker called it building a ghetto in the city.

Reader goes on to note other resident concerns about CCH’s plans including an increase in crime and the scale of the project.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared the Lakewood land suitable for use by the homeless after CCH took the federal government to court and won last fall. As part of the process of taking ownership of the site, CCH must provide its financing plans for the $120 million project to HUD by March 9.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoyFebruary 2, 20182min2190

OK, yes, the City of Denver does bus some of its homeless out of town, but don’t jump to conclusions. Westword’s Chris Walker explains what’s really going on in a report this week. Walker follows up on a mention of the Mile High City by the British newspaper the Guardian in a piece it had done on cities busing their homeless elsewhere.

As Walker notes, Denver busing out its homeless sounds like some scheme to ship the whole issue of homelessness to another part of the country. On the contrary, the city is actually helping people reconnect with family out of state:

We reached out to Julie Smith, communications director with Denver Human Services, to find out about Denver’s particular bus program.

It turns out that Denver does have a busing program, but it is neither robust nor conspiratorial. Rather, its goal is to reunite homeless individuals with family members in other states.

The Family Reunification Program provides qualifying applicants with one-way bus tickets out of Denver. According to an email from Smith, “it is a fairly small program with annual expenditures of about $30k or less and serves around 130 people/families.”

Smith tells Walker about the program’s vetting process and success stories. But 9news in January 2017 told the story of 27-year-old Austin Blitzer, who received a one-way bus ticket to San Diego through Denver’s program, but noted days later on social media how we was still homeless.

Since its beginnings in 2011, Denver has purchased approximately 600 one-way tickets through the program, at a cost of $150,000, Westword reports.

Read Walker’s full report here.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 8, 201814min4025

The nonprofit formerly known as the Centrist Project, a group working to elect nonpartisans officials nationwide, on Monday unveiled a slate of four unaffiliated Colorado candidates running this year for the Legislature  in the opening salvo of its assault on the two major parties' unbroken rule of the state's government. It also announced it's changing its name to Unite America and will call the state-focused organization Unite Colorado.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 15, 20179min496

According to a recent federal study, marijuana use among Colorado teenagers has fallen considerably in the past two years — to its lowest rate in nearly a decade. But high school principals in parts of Denver with high concentrations of pot businesses say the opposite is true, and an organization that works with homeless youth says marijuana use is up sharply in recent years.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 17, 20178min594

Declaring that the 5th Congressional District needs someone who will "fight for what he knows is right" and not just vote the right way, Darryl Glenn, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in Colorado last year, announced on Monday that he's running for the seat held by incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, another Colorado Springs Republican.


Adam McCoyAdam McCoyApril 25, 20176min630

In one of the reddest cities in the state and the country, three political progressives were elected in landslides to the Colorado Springs City Council earlier this April. Though those City Council seats are nonpartisan, Dawn Haliburton-Rudy says it’s the first steps in changing the political geography of the long-time conservative stronghold in El Paso County. “If we can create monumental shift within our political landscape, that holds huge implications nationwide,” Haliburton-Rudy said.


Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinDecember 2, 20167min453

The City and County of Denver's dedicated, permanent, affordable housing fund and program is on track to debut next fall, with new staff members hired, a 23-member advisory committee formed and short- and long-range plans, a City Council committee was told Wednesday, Nov. 30. Rick Padilla, housing director in the Office of Economic Development, and Laura Brudzynski, a community development staffer in the office, updated the Safety, Housing, Education and Homeless Committee on those efforts.