Shay Castle Profile picture
Sep 29 64 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I have so little energy for this homelessness update. I'll tweet what's new and in addition to this story:…
"Homelessness is on the rise, particularly unsheltered homelessness," Megan Newton says. Colorado has the 14th highest rate of homelessness in the U.S. 18 homeless people per 1,000 residents.
RE: the first-ever summer Point In Time survey this July, which showed a 20% increase in unsheltered homelessness over 6 months... it's not actually an increase. Folks who stay in shelter during the winter were living outside, Newton says.
Most people living outside are chronically homeless: That is, unhoused for 1 year or more and with a disabling condition.

I went over disabilities extensively in my story ^
Why do we do local housing vouchers (instead of just relying on federal ones)? Bc the federal ones come with many restrictions, so these local vouchers help close gaps for ppl who can't use federal ones. Folks with long criminal histories, etc.
This is in the story, but 78 ppl have used those local vouchers since 2018. More info on outcomes
- 3 have returned to homelessness
- 9 have died
- 52 still housed with those
- 2 are in skilled nursing facilities
- 11 are in other housing
- 1 unknown
We're going over some of the new program successes, as detailed in the story.

New detail, tho: We've got one residential treatment home open. The second might be by the end of the year, Newton says.
"We are now on the hunt for another property," Newton says of the day shelter/center.

Some good news when they do find a place: bc of state $$ they'll be able to provide more treatment and services there.
Talking about something I didn't get in the story, bc I didn't get answers in time: the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, which BoCo is part of, is looking to redo Coordinated Entry bc of noted racial disparities in housing exits.
Everywhere, BIPOC are over-represented among the unhoused. That's true in BoCo, too. But they are way under-represented when it comes to get housed from the Boulder Shelter. Image
Total (planned) investment in 2024 in homeless services: $11.6M
That does include buying a home(s), so it's a bit higher than just ongoing spending. Unfortunately, ongoing vs. one-time is not broken out, although capital spending for the day shelter ($5M) is nearly half, so...?
Also not in the story, but Haven Ridge (formerly Mother House / The Lodge — they serve pregnant ppl/new moms, trans and nonbinary folks) and TGTHR's youth shelter are expanding
I missed what facility HHS director Kurt Firnhaber said would be a "game-changer," but it might be Mental Health Partner's new Louisville facility. Idk if I reported that, either, but that will help a lot.
They currently have 2 facilities:
Walk-in crisis center (provides Withdrawal Management, Medication Assisted Treatment, Outpatient Services, care coordination)
Warren House: 8 respite beds, 8 transitional, residential treatment SUD beds
Just wanna highlight that: the city's provider of mental health services for the unhoused has 16 freaking beds. 16! That is not enough.
Anyway, they're planning a psychiatric urgent care at the current walk-in center. I believe that's in addition to the new Louisville facility.
The notes weren't terribly specific on that.
Newton: "It feels a little bit like we are spinning our wheels when we can't prevent people from entering the system." (becoming homeless in the first place)
Another thing I didn't address in the story: Safe outdoor shelter. This council has asked (repeatedly) for that, and staff has been very hesitant.
This slide says it better than I could Image
Council member Benjamin (via an email) pushed back on those high costs for ice-fishing tents. Santa Cruz runs one for about $500K a year, he wrote — a third of the cost
He's also upset bc the city says it will take 6-9 months of a planning process. That's bc the sites will need water, sewer and electricity, the city says.
"We could potentially bring in remote showers and water, but Denver has moved away from this approach," Firnhaber wrote in response. 2 possible sites ID'd; "Both sites would need electrical infrastructure and drainage work."
That adds to the cost.
We're on to council qs now. We will return to safe outdoor spaces when council decides what they want to do with those.
Speer: Does the $11.6M in spending include homeless prevention? Like rental assistance?
Firnhaber: That is separate. So is our investment in creating affordable housing. (5% of units dedicated to formerly unhoused) That "ebbs and flows every year."
Reminder that affordable housing $$ comes from fees on development
Speer: Is there anything that exists for respite care, but not for physical health, but mental health and/or addiction?
Firnhaber: Yes, MHP has 8 beds, I believe. The new facility will help with that. Idk if it's moving or will be an additional facility.
Speer: What data do we have around safe outdoor spaces? Reduced crime? Reduced injuries from cold/weather? Do they lead to housing? Do we have evidence on what specific outcomes they lead to?
Newton: The data I've seen from Denver is comparable to shelters. If you also invest in housing, that would be very important. We wouldn't want to just invest in sheltering options without investing in options that help ppl exit the system altogether.
Yates: Have you kinda given up for this year on the day shelter, and so we should use the $$ we set aside? Or are you "not far off" from a new location?

Firnhaber: "It's too early in the process to be making decisions about $$ saved."
"We've been looking at lots of buildings over the last 6 months or so," Firnhaber says. The Folsom location, "It was a good deal for the money."
"My advice would be to wait until 2024 to look at where we're at. I am confident we will find a location in the next few months. idk if it will be operational in 4 months or 9 months," Firnhaber says.
Friend asking how much time newly housed ppl get with service providers.
Newton + Vicki Ebner: It could be an hour a day, and they titrate it down after a bit. If they're in crisis, it could be all day. Sometimes that changes, if something triggers them.
Moving on to another Friend q (that I missed). Firnhaber going back to the 78 folks housed with local housing vouchers: Some of them were high utilizers. The fact that only 3 are unhoused again is a testament to the success of that.
Another piece of data from emails, not in notes: 75% success rate for folks housed with/from Bridge House and Boulder Shelter
Friend: What is our total capacity for winter shetler in the city, 2019 vs. 2023? Including Mother House and TGTHR.

With just general shelter (those other orgs are population specific) it was 282. Now it's 160; 180 in critical weather
Friend: Might that not be contributing to the 57% increase in turnaways from the Shelter?
No, Ebner says. We lost beds in 2020. The turnaways didn't start "really racheting up" until late 2022.
I wanna listen to staff and the data here, but I'm extremely skeptical that reducing beds didn't contribute to there not being enough beds!
Another new data point from the emails I wanted to address: Other than on nights when the Shelter is over capacity, there is an average of 10 unused beds per night at the Shelter.

How can both be true? Let's talk about it.
If you have to gather up all your shit and take a bus (if you catch it) to the shelter across town every night, and you. show up and you don't get a bed, you might not try again for a while.

Or you could be banned: The shelter banned 1.7 ppl a night, on average, in ~May-June.
A stunning q from Friend: Do we know what homeless folks say they’d prefer? Have we done any outreach?

Newton: No. What we know from Denver is they only had ice fishing tents. Now that they have pallet shelters, that may be interesting to know.
Wallach: In the past, your analysis were fairly negative about the outcomes and utility of safe outdoor spaces. Has your further research changed that POV?
Firnhaber: "What has changed is more successful outcomes. And having more services to refer them to out of that. A safe outdoor space should not be the last place they end up. It should bring them to another place, hopefully housing."
Now, the q on outdoor safe spaces:

Winer: If we had extra $$ I would rather it go to transitional housing, drug and alcohol treatment. We should focus on what we're doing now, the day center and these new programs.
Wallach: If staff has extra capacity, I have no problem exploring and costing it out. But "I don't think we're ready for implementation at this point. There's further work to be done. As your views have evolved, I'm prepared to have my views evolve."
Bob: I'd like to see what incremental beds in existing facilities can do. How do we expand capacity at existing shelters before we launch into something new that's kind of expensive.
Shit, that should have said Yates, not Bob. Brain hurty. But you know who he is.
Brockett: I'm interested in this. It could meet a need or gap. Denver seemed to stand theirs up really quickly. Can we do that and add features over time? (Instead of 6-9 months in the planning process)
Friend: We have been studying this since at least 2020, the while time on council. During Brockett's tenure, you got a trip to Portland to look at stuff in 2016. So we're closing in on a decade of looking at this.

"The whole community is unhappy with where we're at" now.
Friend: Some folks don't want to go to shelters. The creek and other places around town are not the place for people to be. Let's do this quickly.

We don't need platinum level; let's start with bronze.
Friend: We're talking about leveling and grading. Right now, we have ppl sleeping on rocks. Ppl at the bandshell, someone tried to run them over. Ppl could be safe in fenced in areas and with 24-hour support. That's better than ppl are getting elsewhere, like in hotels or housing
Speer: Where is the $$ going to come from? If 2A passes, we're gonna have $500K of wiggle room in our budget to do new things for the next 5 years. Are there any cheaper ways we can incentivize ppl using the shelter?
What if we give them like $10 to stay at the shelter? Speer says. "I chuckle a little bit, but contingency management works."
Winer: Where is the $$ going to come from, where is the staff going to come from, what are we gonna do about drug addiction? How are they gonna be safe?
"I've always said pallet homes, not tents, are a possibility for me, but right now I don't know," Winer says. "Before we say, 'Let's do this as well,' do we have an 'as well' right now?"
Friend: My last day on city council is Dec. 7. That would be a great day to have a ribbon cutting. That's the timeline I'm looking for.
They aren't doing an actual informal 'yes or no' to this tonight, bc it's not an actual council meeting. That will be at the Oct. 5 meeting.
"I'm a hard no" on outdoor spaces, Yates says. But I'm into more indoor spaces.
Speer: I don't have enough info to say one way or another. Next week's budget discussion is the correct time to talk about this.
"I'm a hard no" on implementation, Wallach says, bc I don't think it's ready. I'm always interested in more information and analysis.
Ok, so we'll be talking about this next week.
@threadreaderapp please unroll. Thank you!

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Shay Castle

Shay Castle Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @shayshinecastle

Sep 29
Next: Boulder Police quarterly update…
We just did the Reimagining Policing Plan, so I'm not sure how much of this will be new. But I'll tweet what is.
Crime up in 2023: violent and property crimes
Less robberies, tho, Chief Herold says. And fewer car thefts.

"Society crimes" or quality of life, like drugs, are up.
Read 32 tweets
Sep 28
Hey, all. I'm watching the Boulder City Council study session tonight. We've got updates from the municipal court, Boulder Police Dept and a discussion of homeless services.
I'll tweet what I can; it's a lot of info. All these issues are big topics in the upcoming election, so prob a good meeting to pay attention to.
First up: Our quarterly update from the municipal court. It looks like we're covering staffing and structural changes to the court (ho-hum) and then diversion programs for CU students and unhoused individuals.…
Read 72 tweets
Sep 22
Benjamin: On Monday, county commissioners gave $700K to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to expand services.

(City of Boulder gave $300K; City of Longmont gave $50K)
He's discussing a letter to county commissioners asking that, if the affordable housing tax on this year's ballot passes, the county set aside $$ for housing + services specifically for homelessness.
City council has to give an informal vote (called a Nod of Five) in order to send the letter on its behalf.
Read 8 tweets
Sep 21
I'm at Boulder City Council tonight for the zoning + density changes (public hearing and vote).

They're doing Boulder Junction Phase 2 before that, so it will be a few hours before I start tweeting.…
In the meantime, though, you could read that story ^ about what they're voting on, or this one about what Boulder's rental market + affordable housing program is producing:…
One more thing for you to peruse:…
Read 78 tweets
Sep 15
I didn't tweet last night's budget study session, because it's not really that different from what has already been written on the budget. But I'll share some high-level stuff today.…
First, a couple corrections: The police budget is actually $43.7M, not the $41.1M originally reported. Staff said they put some police spending in the general governane budget accidentally. (Still not updated on the city's budget website.)
The encampment removal budget is being expanded by $820,443 for a total of $3M in spending for 2024. Staff originally reported $945,000 in new spending.
Read 19 tweets
Sep 7
I forgot to tell you that I'm at City Council tonight. I'll be tweeting the vote and public hearing for the new BPD plan, Reimagining Policing.
I'm also here for some housing stuff, but I'll just be taking notes on that for an upcoming story. Big doings!
OK getting started. Council has looked at Reimagining Policing once before, and they sent it back for more work.

So much good info in this story from back then. Please give it a read:…
Read 95 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!