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'HOPE' Helps City Tackle Housing For Homeless

By Jennifer Brice

DENVER (CBS4)- The City of Denver is launching a coordinated effort to combat homelessness. There is already a dedicated fund of $150 million to create 6,000 affordable homes. Now, comes a citywide effort to get the homeless a place to live and a good paying job.

The city says they can do all this without spending any "extra" money.

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(credit: CBS)

The cost of homes and rent in Denver are on the rise, which is no secret. However, what may be surprising is who is filling shelters in Denver.

"Three out of four individuals experiencing homelessness are working at places like construction sites, restaurants and hotels," said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

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Homeless shelters are seeing more elderly people than ever. Young adults also make up 10 percent of the Denver shelter population.

At the third annual housing summit, city leaders say they have a plan to deal with Denver's growing homeless, by leveraging programs to connect people with jobs, health services and housing.

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (credit: CBS)

Eric Solivan is the Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Housing & Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE), today they launch their strategy for combating the housing issues plaguing the city.

He says there is a plan to move people from homelessness to home ownership, "And... the opportunity for jobs and health services, to help make impact investments by leveraging our stakeholders."

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Through workforce programs, city leaders say people will be able to grow their earnings and save. City leaders also say there will be more access to mental health and addiction services, two significant factors that drive homelessness. In the housing sector, the goal is to make it more affordable housing so families can take root in Denver.

City leaders have outlined 30 short-term action items to combat the homeless issue titled Housing & Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE).

Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.

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