Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan Issued on Housing and Homelessness

Published on August 04, 2021

Survey open for public feedback through Sept. 3, prior to plan being recommended for adoption by City Council

Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST) has issued a draft review version of its Five-Year Strategic Plan to support those residents who are unhoused or facing housing instability. Following more than a year of public input from thousands of residents, stakeholders and partners, the plan will help guide how HOST invests resources, creates policy and partners to provide housing stability, resolves episodes of homelessness, and creates housing opportunities for the people of Denver.

“We are going to continue to deploy every tool available, with a goal of lifting thousands of people out of homelessness over the next two years, including those who are living on our streets in the most unsafe and unhealthy of conditions,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We know what works, and we’re going to do even more and even better. This plan will further solidify housing and homelessness resources as an essential city service, while strengthening our community’s hand toward building a healthy, housed and connected Denver.”

The plan includes 14 goals that will help create a Denver where race no longer predicts outcomes for involuntary displacement, homelessness, homeownership or cost burden, and where residents: 

  • Have equitable access to housing options that meet their affordability needs, provide opportunity to increase wealth through home ownership, and improve their quality of life;
  • Have the choice in when and under what circumstances they move or remain in their homes and neighborhoods; 
  • Experience homelessness rarely and, if they do, it is brief and one-time.

The plan also identifies measurable goals for each of HOST’s divisions – Housing Opportunity, Housing Stability, Homelessness Resolution, and Operations – along with specific strategies and tactics for meeting these goals. Highlights of the plan include: 

  • Create and preserve 7,000 homes
  • Preserve 950 income-restricted rentals
  • Measurably end veteran homelessness
  • Reduce unsheltered homelessness by 50%
  • Increase the number of people who exit shelter into housing from 30% to 40%, and families from 25% to 50%
  • Reduce the average length of time residents experience homelessness to 90 days
  • Reduce eviction filings by 25%
  • Increase households served in rehousing and supportive housing programs from 1,800 to 3,000
  • Help address gentrification with policies that prioritize affordable housing for residents at risk of or who have been involuntarily displaced
  • Increase homeownership among low- and moderate-income households, with a focus on households that are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
  • Reduce contract and procurement times 

“With homelessness on the rise and more than one-third of Denver residents struggling to keep up with housing costs, it is important to continue to prioritize our citywide commitment to affordable housing,” said HOST Executive Director Britta Fisher. “This plan relates how our work will continue to be person-centered, trauma-informed, data-driven and culturally responsive. We join our colleagues across the city in our Mayor’s call to lead with equity and we published our measures to ensure we take actions meaningfully aligned to these values.”

Residents are encouraged to read the full plan, or the Executive Summary and other sections of interest if time is limited, and to share feedback with HOST. A survey is open for public comment through Friday, Sept. 3. The plan will also be presented at the following two virtual community meetings, with interpretation to be provided:

Over the past 10 years, the Hancock Administration has done more than ever to meet affordability challenges head on, including the creation and/or preservation of nearly 8,000 income-restricted units and the transitioning of more than 11,000 people out of homelessness and into housing. In his 2021 State of the City Address, Mayor Hancock announced the infusion of $28 million from the American Rescue Plan into the city’s Affordable Housing Fund, and to get affordable housing built sooner, the creation of a specialized team to prioritize these projects for permit review and approval.

Earlier last year, HOST began a five-year strategic planning process involving the department’s advisory body, the Housing Stability Strategic Advisors, and a Strategic Planning Executive Committee, with membership including individuals with lived experiences, service providers, housing developers, funders, city agencies and representatives of community organizations and neighborhoods. Community engagement prior to the drafting of the plan also included meetings with numerous stakeholders and interviews of individuals with lived experiences of homelessness and other forms of housing instability. Earlier this summer HOST collected survey responses from 1,350 individuals on the draft goals contained in the plan.

Following the public review period, HOST will work with the Housing Stability Strategic Advisors and the Strategic Planning Executive Committee to finalize the plan for presentation to City Council for adoption in November.

For more information on the planning effort and to sign up for updates on the process, visit www.denvergov.org/housing.