JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — As metro Denver continues looking for solutions to the homelessness crisis, Jefferson County is considering its first two public homeless shelters.
The county is calling the proposed facilities “housing navigation centers.” They would include resources and workforce housing, in addition to dozens of overnight beds.
Tentative plans would place one shelter in the northern part of the county and another in the central area.
A Jefferson County spokesperson said the plans are in the extremely early stages and involve interested parties from multiple cities.
In a recent survey, 65% of Wheat Ridge respondents said the city should work with regional partners to create a shelter. But only 43% said they’d support one in their own neighborhood.
Despite being the fourth most populated county in Colorado, homeless advocates say resources in Jefferson County remain limited, with no dedicated public shelter.
“Homelessness has been around forever. It just seems to be worse and worse,” says Leslie Lunnon, with Shannon’s Hope.
The faith-based non-profit provides housing and resources for pregnant women and new mothers experiencing homelessness.
She says the 18-bed facility is routinely full with a waiting list.
“We take calls from homeless people every single day,” Lunnon said. “We’re working on self-sufficiency skills so they don’t have to experience homelessness again.”
Lunnon said she supports the idea of additional shelter beds in the county. She also thinks preliminary plans to include resources and more permanent housing are promising.
“There can never be enough shelters. I would just invite people to think about programs: to be able to do the comprehensive, instead of just the temporary shelter,” Lunnon said.
Heading Home Jeffco, a group of people and organizations focused on ending homelessness, is expected to release additional information on those housing navigation centers later this year.