Regional Houselessness Conversations

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Across the country, communities are facing the challenge of an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness and housing crises. Golden, as well as our neighboring cities, are feeling the impact of this national concern. While many believe that police departments have the primary responsibility for responding to complaints about illegal camping, trash and panhandling, managing all of the impacts of people experiencing homelessness is a complex issue and cannot be addressed with only one approach. Some resources to assist those experiencing homelessness or who are in imminent risk can be found on the City of Golden Homelessness Resources page.

There are many misconceptions regarding how law enforcement can respond to homelessness issues. It isn't illegal to be homeless nor is it illegal to panhandle unless the person is obstructing or interfering with traffic flow. Those experiencing homelessness have the same rights as everyone else, including being in public places, as long as they are not committing any crimes. Homelessness is a complex issue and it is important to keep in mind that individuals experiencing homelessness face many challenges that create barriers in everyday life including mental health issues and/or substance misuse. Homelessness also affects families with children, who make up a large segment of those who are homeless, further complicating this difficult issue.

The City of Golden is collaborating with Jefferson County and other county municipalities to build regional partnerships in order to assist an ever-increasing number of people experiencing homelessness. A new county-wide homeless navigation model was launched in 2020, comprised of six municipal and county-based housing navigators who work directly with persons experiencing homelessness or are at imminent risk of homelessness. The shared navigator for the cities of Golden, Wheat Ridge and Edgewater, Rebekah Raudabaugh, began in December 2020.

The role of the Homelessness Navigator is to assist those experiencing a housing crisis find stable housing and obtain the services and resources needed to maintain that housing. The Homelessness Navigator works in partnership with local business communities, constituents, metro-area non-profits and government agencies serving the cities of Golden, Wheat Ridge, and Edgewater. While the Homelessness Navigator isn't able to increase available housing resources, but the Navigator will help people experiencing homelessness identify solutions to complex health and housing challenges and support those who are seeking a path out of homelessness. This is not an emergency, on-call position.

City staff are in conversation with representatives from the cities of Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Lakewood, Westminster, and Arvada, as well as Jefferson County for the planning of two potential homelessness navigation centers that will operate as a resource hub and short-term shelter for those in need of assistance. The centers are expected to be located in central and north Jefferson County. They will act as further assistance to those who starting the process of ending their homelessness, as well as providing a shelter to those who are in imminent risk of losing housing. Navigation Center staff will be on hand to help guide individuals to resources that can assist them. Sites for these centers have not been identified at this time.

Across the country, communities are facing the challenge of an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness and housing crises. Golden, as well as our neighboring cities, are feeling the impact of this national concern. While many believe that police departments have the primary responsibility for responding to complaints about illegal camping, trash and panhandling, managing all of the impacts of people experiencing homelessness is a complex issue and cannot be addressed with only one approach. Some resources to assist those experiencing homelessness or who are in imminent risk can be found on the City of Golden Homelessness Resources page.

There are many misconceptions regarding how law enforcement can respond to homelessness issues. It isn't illegal to be homeless nor is it illegal to panhandle unless the person is obstructing or interfering with traffic flow. Those experiencing homelessness have the same rights as everyone else, including being in public places, as long as they are not committing any crimes. Homelessness is a complex issue and it is important to keep in mind that individuals experiencing homelessness face many challenges that create barriers in everyday life including mental health issues and/or substance misuse. Homelessness also affects families with children, who make up a large segment of those who are homeless, further complicating this difficult issue.

The City of Golden is collaborating with Jefferson County and other county municipalities to build regional partnerships in order to assist an ever-increasing number of people experiencing homelessness. A new county-wide homeless navigation model was launched in 2020, comprised of six municipal and county-based housing navigators who work directly with persons experiencing homelessness or are at imminent risk of homelessness. The shared navigator for the cities of Golden, Wheat Ridge and Edgewater, Rebekah Raudabaugh, began in December 2020.

The role of the Homelessness Navigator is to assist those experiencing a housing crisis find stable housing and obtain the services and resources needed to maintain that housing. The Homelessness Navigator works in partnership with local business communities, constituents, metro-area non-profits and government agencies serving the cities of Golden, Wheat Ridge, and Edgewater. While the Homelessness Navigator isn't able to increase available housing resources, but the Navigator will help people experiencing homelessness identify solutions to complex health and housing challenges and support those who are seeking a path out of homelessness. This is not an emergency, on-call position.

City staff are in conversation with representatives from the cities of Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Lakewood, Westminster, and Arvada, as well as Jefferson County for the planning of two potential homelessness navigation centers that will operate as a resource hub and short-term shelter for those in need of assistance. The centers are expected to be located in central and north Jefferson County. They will act as further assistance to those who starting the process of ending their homelessness, as well as providing a shelter to those who are in imminent risk of losing housing. Navigation Center staff will be on hand to help guide individuals to resources that can assist them. Sites for these centers have not been identified at this time.

Q&A

Homelessness is a complex issue and we encourage you to ask your questions here. 

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    What would it take to allow something like the BLOCK project in Seattle here in Golden? https://www.arup.com/perspectives/seattle-block-homes-yes-in-my-backyard

    mburde asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing information on this program, we will take a look.

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    Why is the City so insistent on spending money on this issue with so limited benefits when it has limited time and resources for more cost effective and beneficial matters impacting Golden? For instance the loss of small businesses, vacant office space, zoning, traffic downtown, clear creek access, Heart of Golden, parking, open space, etc. In my opinion this is a total waste of tax payers' money and the city's limited resources, not to mention taking funds from more value oriented subjects. Don't get me wrong but there will always be homeless and then sure need help but there are many existing resources that could be utilized rather than creating more social programs that will go underfunded.

    finally asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your feedback.

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    Comment - that's cute using the phrase houselessness, as though we are talking about the cast in the movie Nomadland. We are talking here of vagrancy. Let's be clear about what it is here. The introduction summation paragraph on the homelessness panel page is misleading. While it is true that legally a person can panhandle in Golden, that is because council rescinded ordinance Section 8.04.810 (a) about 6 years ago prohibiting aggressive panhandling. Council can go back, and should, reinstate this ordinance. It is inaccurate to state that families make up a large segment of the homeless. The vast majority of homeless are men with mental illnesses and addiction problems who either won't work or can't work. Most families will take advantage of available programs. I met with Bob Cote years ago at Step 13, now Step Denver. He said the number one thing is DO NOT give these people money. By all means we should give a blanket in the winter, a bottle of water or food, and a kind word, but money will be spent on alcohol and drugs. Please do not look to cities like Denver, LA or Seattle for solutions. Their responses have been disastrous. Do not throw money at this problem. Whatever we subsidize we get more of, whatever we tax we get less of. The less money spent the better. Denver can give every homeless person $40,000 a year with their budget, but the problem gets worse every year. If the city plans on letting the street people sleep in tents throughout the city make sure that they are allowed to camp on sidewalks and parks in the well to do liberal areas of Golden too, like Mountain Ridge, Mesa Meadows and Beverly Heights. The Golden city government's primary job is to provide for public safety and public order. Yes much of it is a police function. It is a difficult, cultural problem, but Golden can do the right thing.

    33XX245b asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    Thank you for this information. Anyone can experience homelessness at some point in their life, and I'm glad to hear that Golden is working to find ways to support people and families experiencing homelessness.

    Minihane asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you for your comment.

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    Hi. I attended the meeting last night and Jason thought there might be weekly meetings on this very important issue. Is it a closed meeting or are citizens welcome? When will it start? The problem is expediential. And will get more complicated as time goes on. Thank you for your time. DawnMarie Anderson.

    getsaucy asked about 1 year ago

    Hi,

    Thanks for watching and engaging on this important issue. Jason was referring to an internal staff meeting, but we do plan on having more engagement opportunities on this important issue and will make sure we post those opportunities on this page.

Page last updated: 04 Aug 2021, 05:33 PM