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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