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Homeless Initiative

Homeless Initiative

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A Statement from the Douglas County Homeless Initiative Executive Committee:

Douglas County Homeless Initiative Meeting information is available here.  

In Douglas County, we value all those in our community – citizens, business owners, and those who may be experiencing a housing crisis. Here, we center on the person not the condition of homelessness, and the possibility that comes with INITIATIVE among everyone working together under the “Four Cs”: Compassion, Code Enforcement, Community Services, and Communications:

Watch: How a new partnership is helping address homelessness in our community.

Compassion

Compassion: The County will lead with a person-first perspective.

In Douglas County, our person-first perspective leads with compassion, recognizing first and foremost the inherent value of all humans and that the challenges facing the unhoused are complex and varied, from distinguished veterans with families who lost a job and can’t afford housing, to those who may have mental health challenges, substance abuse issues, criminal records which create barriers to gainful employment, and many other cross-cutting and overlapping complexities in between.

That said, unlike many major metropolitan areas throughout the country, Douglas County will not become a victim of its own compassion and allow illegal drugs, debris, and decay to proliferate and overtake our community to the detriment of the rest of the citizens and businesses that choose to locate here. This critical balance of compassionate public safety with behavioral health is at the core of our Homeless Engagement, Assistance & Resource Team (HEART).

If you would like to donate to help homelessness in Douglas County please visit the Douglas County Community Foundation of Colorado (DCCF).

Code Enforcement

Code Enforcement – We will view issues countywide, and center on the needs of not just people experiencing homelessness, but the needs and expectations of all our citizens and businesses when addressing complex issues.

We understand being unhoused is not a crime and it is not our intent to criminalize homelessness.

We support and fund law enforcement and have a zero-tolerance policy for crime in our community. It remains illegal in Douglas County to litter, vandalize, impede traffic, trespass, or to put children at risk on our streets, sidewalks, and public spaces. Camping restrictions are in place in unincorporated Douglas County, and municipalities also have ordinances in place which support public safety. We will continue to work with civil liberties legal experts and our respective legal departments to create a uniform framework for compassionate code enforcement.

We also understand that to implement Code Enforcement we must have dedicated shelter for the homeless in Douglas County (People v. Wiemold, 19CV30889). Our approach to supporting those who are unsheltered in our communities is to invest in a whole-person system of support.

Community Services

Community Services – We are committed to ensuring a system of support that is person-focused.

Our system of support reflects a continuum of care that addresses not only basic needs such as food and shelter, but job counseling, mental health support, substance abuse treatment, and fosters independence/self-reliance through opportunities for productive reintegration into society.

The system of support includes the GOALS program as well as Reintegration and Transportation.

Communications

Communications – Educate our communities as to their role in this countywide plan.

We continue working with our partners to develop and implement a Public Awareness campaign across communication platforms for citizens, businesses, and those experiencing homelessness, which reflects the Four Cs.  Including uniform signage throughout the county and municipalities that reflect several key components:

We understand that many have the desire to help yet are conflicted regarding what is the “right thing to do” when encountering someone who may be experiencing homelessness.

Our goal is to redirect kindness and generosity to countywide resources in support of the unsheltered.

  • Handouts don’t help – give safety through DouglasHasHeart.org
  • For help call HEART your compassionate law enforcement team at 303-660-7301

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