ICYMI: Denver Mayoral Candidate Mike Johnston Pledges to End Homelessness In First Term

Denver Gazette’s Kyla Pearce last week detailed former State Senator and former CEO Mike Johnston’s “ambitious” plan to end homelessness in Denver in his first term as mayor through data-driven policies that work without affecting the City of Denver’s budget.

This first policy proposal released by Johnston’s campaign outlines his plan to build a vibrant, safe, and affordable Denver by leveraging millions in federal and local funds to build 20 micro communities composed of 1,400 housing units and provide “wrap-around” services to connect residents with important social services.

Read more about Johnston’s commitment from the Denver Gazette:

  • In an ambitious promise, Denver mayoral candidate Mike Johnston pledged to end homelessness by the end of his first term.
  • Accomplishing that goal, he said, is contingent on a coordinated attack on overlapping challenges that are fueling homelessness.
  • “Denver needs a mayor who will make solving homelessness a top priority and align every department of city government to ensure results,” Johnston said. “As mayor, my office will be front and center of the fight against homelessness.”
  • Johnston said that, in order to solve the homelessness crisis, the city needs to address three overlapping crises — the lack of affordable housing, the absence of available mental health support and an explosion in the severity of addictive drugs.
  • Johnston’s four core policy pillars are:
    • Build 10-20 micro communities with 1,400 additional housing units. These will include hotel conversions and small clusters of tiny homes.
    • Provide centralized “wrap-around” services in every micro community to connect residents with mental health and addiction treatment programs, as well as workforce training. Johnston said the new micro communities would partner with existing community resources, such as local churches, civic groups and neighborhood associations.
    • Keep communities together when moving them to housing. By opening micro communities with 40 to 60 units, Johnston plans to move entire encampments together.
    • Stop eviction and displacement by investing in prevention to reduce the number of residents who become homeless.
  • In other cities, comprehensive “wrap-around” services, such as the ones he pledges to implement, have resulted in up to an 80% reduction of homelessness, Johnston said.
  • The candidate said he would use one-time federal stimulus money to fund the permanent supportive housing. He said Denver is eligible to receive up to $138 million in funding, which, at $25,000 per unit, can support all 1,400 homes without affecting Denver’s budget.
  • Funding for the “wrap-around” services would come from Denver’s Homelessness Resolution Fund, the money Denver projects to receive from Proposition 123, and $50 million in federal funds that Denver received to construct a campus providing these services.
  • Along with his plan to build micro-communities, Johnston said he will appoint a senior homelessness advisor who will oversee the city’s efforts to combat the crisis. 

Read Mike Johnston’s full plan to end homelessness here.

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