Mayor Hancock proposes $190 million towards homelessness in new Denver budget

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver is about to use one-twelfth of its budget for homelessness, if Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed 2022 budget is approved.

Hancock lined out his 2022 budget proposal Wednesday, highlighting the city’s priorities. It dedicates funds to target lower-income and minority community economic recovery, provides funds for infrastructure projects, and funnels both city and general funds at homelessness and housing affordability.

Hancock’s proposal would total $2.46 billion in spending overall, a 10.3% increase from last year’s budget and the highest-ever budget for the City of Denver. It would nearly double the city’s budget from only ten years ago.

A total of $229 million will be used toward housing and homelessness – $190 million from city general funds, dedicated funds and American Rescue Plan Act funding plus another $39 million from a 2021 city bond.

The spending will add to a price tag on homelessness that raised eyebrows recently.

These figures are not a straight comparison, as the Common Sense Institute study includes services like medical care, police and legal resources and others.

According to an accounting by the Common Sense Institute, the Denver metro spends just under a half billion dollars a year on homelessness: $481 million. Most of that is spent in Denver, with the city spending $435 million.

It is more instructive to see how Hancock’s bill will raise spending in certain homelessness-related ways or start new funding entirely.

The city has received $308 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the federal government. In this round of ARPA spending, homelessness is the biggest slice of the pie at $43.3 million, which represents 60% of the upcoming ARPA round.

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