Denver is set to receive over $5.5 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to help fund a supportive housing project for 125 homeless residents.
The City Council unanimously approved the $5,512,000 grant Monday, funding the Denver Housing to Health Pay for Success project. The council will vote next week to establish a special revenue fund to receive the funds.
The Housing to Health project aims to provide housing and supportive services for homeless residents to decrease their jail time and improve their physical health, according to the city. It will serve 125 people referred by Denver Health and the Department of Public Safety.
The project will build on Denver’s Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond program, which served 363 people from 2016 to 2020.
Participants of the Social Impact Bond program had 40% fewer arrests, 30% fewer jail stays, 40% fewer emergency room visits and 65% fewer stays at detoxification facilities, according to an independent evaluation released in July.
Of those housed, 86% remained in stable housing after one year, 81% after two years and 77% after three years, according to the evaluation.
“The program’s results disrupt the false narrative that homelessness is an unsolvable problem and that people who experience chronic homelessness choose to live on the street,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in July. “With the offer of housing first and the right supports in place, people can and did exit homelessness.”
The program used a housing first model, meaning there were no requirements for participants like sobriety, employment or seeking treatment. But once housed, residents had access to a wide range of services to address their needs.
The federal funds come as part of the federal Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA) passed in 2018. SIPPRA is a competitive award process that provides grants to localities with the intention of improving the effectiveness of social services.
Denver applied for the SIPPRA award in May 2019 and was accepted in August 2021.
On Monday, the council also approved an $826,800 grant application to fund an independent evaluator as required by SIPPRA. The evaluator will measure the effectiveness of outcomes associated with the Housing to Health project.
The grant will provide funds for the Housing to Health project through April 2029 and for the independent evaluator through October 2029.