During a Boulder City Council meeting on April 13, the City announced it has located a property for a Day Services Center for those experiencing homelessness.
The building, at 1844 Folsom St., was formerly an office space. Boulder Shelter for the Homeless will run the center, which is scheduled to open later this year, but there are ongoing discussions on what services will be available.
The current structure will be demolished in the next few years. The City is planning to replace it with a larger custom-built space with permanent supportive housing above it. During demolition and construction, the day center will be displaced to an as-yet undetermined
Councilmember Bob Yates was pleased to hear the Day Services Center is making headway.
“I find it disappointing that up until now Boulder is one of the few cities on the Front Range of our size that hasn’t had either a 24-hour shelter, or at least a day services center where people can be during the daytime,” he told Boulder Weekly.
But council members and staff also said that they recognize more needs to be done to address homelessness in Boulder.
“The frustration that we have, that the community has, is that despite the success of getting individuals out of homelessness, we still see these challenges,” Kurt Firnhaber, housing and human services director, said during the meeting.
Firnhaber is referencing the 7,000 individuals since 2018 who have gone through the county-wide Coordinated Entry program which helps people experiencing homelessness access housing resources.
About every six months, Boulder City Council has a study session to discuss homelessness updates, efforts and
New programs are kicking off, including the Building Home Program, launched earlier this month to support newly housed community members, and an on-street mental health team that will operate without the presence of a police officer.
The City is also optimistic about finalizing the installation of a second operations and clean-up team under its Safe and Managed Spaces program, which will help conduct sweeps of encampments — a tactic that has been shown to decrease life expectancy for the unhoused. At the end of March, the City also shortened the time it gives people participating in unsanctioned camping to clean up and leave under certain circumstances (News, “Ease the harm,” April 6, 2023).
Challenges still persist. A lack of resources to address the growing unhoused population was brought up several times. City staff spoke about the lack of treatment options for mental health or substance use, limited housing options, and a lack of alternatives for people who don’t have housing right now.
The City is also struggling to find solutions for the 45 “high-system utilizers” who put a “disproportionate strain” on justice systems and emergency services.
Joe Taddeucci, director of Public Works for utilities, spoke about the challenges that arise from division in the community.
“There’s really well-intended efforts on all sides of the issues, but at times we are working against each other,” he said. “If we could ever figure out a way to align those efforts it would be huge.”
No decisions were made at the meeting, but Council expects to discuss these topics more in-depth moving forward.