AURORA, Colo. – Officials from Aurora, Denver, Adams and Arapahoe Counties will travel to Houston on Wednesday, Sept. 14 on a fact-finding mission to understand how the city and its many regional partners have approached homelessness in a way that has garnered national attention and praise.
“Our goal is to make homelessness rare, brief and a one-time experience,” said Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman on behalf of the city and its staff. “I’m looking forward to seeing Houston’s approach to reducing homelessness, and we are interested in learning how they brought together key stakeholders from all sections of the community to work on this issue. The Metro Denver region has been working together on homelessness and this is a great opportunity for us as a region to learn together.”
Aurora Council Member Juan Marcano added, “I am thrilled to have Aurora lead this mission and to have the City and County of Denver, Arapahoe County, and Adams County joining us in cooperation and partnership. We have a great opportunity to learn from the successes and struggles of the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston and Harris County, and I am grateful to Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Coalition for their willingness to share their expertise with us. It is my hope that we return from this mission with a commitment to a shared strategy and vision for the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro region and get to work reducing homelessness in a way that is both cost-effective and humane.”
During the two-day trip the group will meet with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and an array of leaders from government, nonprofit and private organizations from across the Greater Houston area, and learn more about the area’s street outreach efforts, funding streams and procurement of housing units.
“With unsheltered homelessness up by nearly one-third across the Denver metro area over the past two years, it’s more important than ever for our region to pull together and address the injustice of people living on the streets,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “I’m confident the delegation will benefit from visiting Houston and bring back fresh ideas to metro Denver.”
“We know that homelessness is not only an Adams County, Aurora or Arapahoe County issue,” said Adams County Board Chair Lynn Baca. “The key to the success that Houston and Harris County have in addressing this issue rests with their regional approach and we are all hoping to learn more about how that model might be applicable for us.”
Among the elected officials from Colorado to travel to Houston will be Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, Aurora Council Members Juan Marcano and Alison Coombs, Denver Council Members Candi CdeBaca and Chris Hinds, Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry and Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Jackson.
“As one of the largest metro areas in the country that has also had some successes in dealing with their homelessness issues, we feel that our group can benefit from seeing Houston’s work and look for ways that it might translate to the Denver metro area,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Jackson. “We already view homelessness as a very regional issue in our communities, and we look forward to a robust sharing of ideas around how we can make a difference in Colorado.”
Officials will be available for debriefings after the trip. The Aurora Council Members will discuss the trip during the City Council Study Session at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19.