Boulder leaders take tour to get ideas to solve homeless problem

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BOULDER, Colo. -- City officials are tackling the homelessness crisis head on, hoping to get a head start on preliminary future plans.

Dozens of elected officials and community members joined a seven-stop tour on Monday afternoon to survey potential transitional housing spots.

"Boulder's model is long-term housing to get people back on their feet," said Patrick Von Keyserling, Boulder communications director.

The city's goal is seeing people become productive members of the community.

"Creating community, creating density, creating opportunities for people to rebuild their lives," said Isabel McDevitt, Bridge House executive director.

The tour continued to visit ready-to-work shelters like Bridge House. They toured empty sites to see what potential might be ahead.

"It's very important to look at all the housing options, particularly in such a tough housing market," McDevitt said.

People like David Lang have now become a success by helping the community and being able to keep a full-time job.

"I've seen a lot of people come in who are totally down on their luck and they're out here now with a full-time job, housing and  doing great," Lang said.

City officials recently visited Portland and Eugene, Ore., to see their models for transitional housing.

"We are looking at this as a regional effort, not just a one-city community that's trying to solve homelessness. It's across the Front Range and it takes a conglomerate of cities to address it," Von Keyserling said.

City officials stress that plans are strictly in the preliminary stages. Public participation will be needed when the time comes for action on these ideas years from now.

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