Homelessness is on the rise in Arvada and throughout Colorado. Recent data shows that families experiencing homelessness are increasing in number faster than any other group. In our community, homelessness is increasingly affecting families with children, the under-employed, veterans and individuals with mental health or substance-abuse issues. The City of Arvada is collaborating with various organizations and agencies in a variety of ways to help address this growing concern.
Arvada Police Proactive Measures
Over the past several years, the Arvada Police Department has applied significant additional resources to address homelessness. Most recently, the Police Department has developed a new response team: the Community, Outreach, Resource and Enforcement (CORE) team. This new team is dedicated to ensuring public safety and a high quality of life throughout the entire city. The CORE team will begin by focusing its efforts in the area south of W. 58th Avenue and east of Allison Street. They will be working closely with all members of the community to develop an appropriate response to any issues that may arise. Officers will open lines of communication with residents, visitors, business owners and the homeless population with the goal to find resource-based solutions. It is important to note that this team will also deploy strategic enforcement efforts when providing resources becomes ineffective. If individuals experiencing homelessness are breaking the law, our officers will take appropriate action just as they would with any other individual.
Recent court decisions on the issue of homelessness have prompted the City to review and revise many of its ordinances to ensure that the City is in compliance with the law. When determining what is or is not a crime, the City must focus on problematic behavior regardless of a person’s status as homeless or homed. As part of this effort, the City repealed its panhandling ordinance and replaced it with ordinances that focus instead on pedestrian safety. In addition, the City revised its trespassing ordinance to more clearly outline criminal behavior. These changes to the City’s criminal code have the effect of taking the focus off a person’s status, and puts the focus on a person’s conduct that may be unsafe or problematic.
The City is participating in a regional program in partnership with Heading Home Jeffco, social and mental health workers, and Jefferson County, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Golden. This program will utilize a team of Service Navigators who will connect individuals experiencing homelessness with services ranging from the Community Table to County Social, Mental Health and Employment Services. This initiative will begin Jan. 1, 2020.
Other Regional Partnerships
A regional approach through partnerships with elected officials and other agencies and organizations have resulted in:
- Severe Weather Shelters have been established in Jefferson County through partnerships between local churches, non-profits, and community volunteers.
- Housing programs are being explored at a regional and local level.
- The partnership between the Arvada Housing Authority and the Community Table's Bridges to Opportunity program provides housing assistance to 25 homeless or at-risk of homelessness individuals and families in addition to case management services.
- The partnership between the Arvada Housing Authority and Colorado Homeless Families provides housing assistance to homeless or at-risk of homelessness individuals and families in addition to case management services.
To view the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding homelessness in Arvada, visit arvada.org/faqs-homelessness-in-arvada.
How You Can Help
Heading Home and Jefferson County are conducting a Comprehensive Homeless Count in the month of August. Volunteers are needed to conduct surveys in Arvada the week of August 19 - 23. Please consider participating in this very important process. For information regarding the Count and how to sign up, visit headinghomejeffco.com/get_involved.
- Telephone Numbers:
Non-emergency Police Dispatch: 720-898-6900
Arvada Housing Authority: 720-898-7494
- Street Address:
8101 Ralston Road, Arvada, CO 80002
- by City Manager