Hickenlooper Failed Denver’s Homeless

Hickenlooper Failed Denver’s Homeless

October 13, 2020

This is a view from outside the Denver Channel 7 debate, where the channel was co-hosting the second live U.S. Senate debate on October 9 between Senator Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper. It’s a picture of a homeless encampment with a Hickenlooper campaign sign. 

BACKGROUND: Hickenlooper’s record on homelessness in Denver

While he was Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper implemented a plan to end homelessness in 10 years dubbed “Denver’s Road Home” (DRH) in 2007. But that didn’t happen, not at all. 

Here’s a video from 2015 where (then Governor) Hickenlooper calls his failed plan a “marketing effort

In 2014 — 9 years into John Hickenlooper’s 10-year plan — homeless rates in Denver had actually increased. They looked at the number of homeless in the metro area, number of chronically homeless in Denver and in the metro area. 

Those responsible for implementing the plan criticized Hickenlooper for not seeing the initiative through, saying “it’s clear that’s not going to happen.” And Denver’s City Auditor at the time said, “the numbers don’t look like they’re going down at all.”

A 2015 audit concluded that the DRH budget was more than $40 million, but that they didn’t take advantage of important resources they could have used to reduce homelessness/ And that they didn’t gather or analyze any data until year 10 of the 10-year plan. 

They also found that the DRH commission operated “without a clear, updated mission or purpose” and so “the commission has been unable to effectively function in its advisory capacity to help DRH develop and implement strategies to reduce the homeless population of Denver. 

There was a clear lack of leadership from the top while Hickenlooper was Mayor and he didn’t care enough to see his program to end homelessness through. Denver’s homeless population has become a major issue, and is exasperated by COVID-19. 

Hickenlooper failed to make any progress on homelessness in Denver, in fact it was worse than ever when he left office. 

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