On Feb. 28, Jessica Hulse, the Crisis Response Unit Program Manager, presented progress on Northglenn’s Winter Housing Program at the old Recreation Center, and it stands as a success to her and many Northglenn council members.
According to Hulse, the program opened its doors on Dec. 15, shortly after the council approved turning the old rec center into a temporary housing program. Between Dec. 15 and Feb. 15, there have been 65 individual participants in the program, 753 nights of averted homelessness and seven participants found a home or identified housing.
One participant is fully housed, two have identified housing, four have identified how they will support housing and one exited the program to live with a friend, Hulse said.
The program aims to serve those left out by the Severe Weather Action Plan, a county program adopted in 2020 to help people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
“People who are working went to work before 10 o’clock in the morning and are getting off of work after 2 p.m. in the afternoon have lost out on the chance to secure shelter for the night,” Hulse said.
The intake hours for the SWAP are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those experiencing homelessness come to the program in the morning and room distribution occurs around 1 p.m. Since working folks miss these intake hours, the new program is designed to accommodate those folks.
According to Hulse, homelessness in Adams County increased between 40 and 45 percent since the COVID pandemic. No emergency shelter currently exists to connect people experiencing homelessness during cold nights. The closest one rests 20 miles outside of Northglenn.
Participants must be 18 years or older, have employment or a community connection. Connections can include attending day school, a day center, or staying with friends or family. Families with children will be referred to Adams 12 Five Star schools which can provide resources through a federal act.
“One of the ongoing complaints (of the program) was it was going to increase crime,” said City Councilor Becky Brown. Hulse said that there have been no calls for service or calls for safety due to the program.
Prior to the council approving the program, residents voiced safety concerns during an informational meeting, including Shane Doss, the general manager at the Delta Hotel in Northglenn.
“With the underpass over the interstate, we find that to be a big area for us, for people coming from the other side,” he said. “I have had people get in that are part of the homeless population that have gotten in the building, as well as set off the fire alarm in the building, they have attacked an employee before.”
Yet, no calls for safety were made.
The program has also provided a space for emergency drop-offs. According to Hulse, the Northglenn Police Department has dropped off 30 individuals found during the night with nowhere to go.
For emergency drop-offs, the program has provided local resources, assisted in reuniting with family members, assisted with medical care, assisted with behavioral urgent care, assisted with emergency housing, assisted with longer-term shelter or helped the person enter the program as a participant, Hulse said.
“I’ve not seen a project in this city that has gained so much enthusiasm from the public,” City Councilor Julie Duran Mullica said.