Building Public Will to Address Homelessness
In The Denver Foundation’s most recent listening tour, community members expressed concern that basic human needs are not being met for far too many people. This is especially true for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. We are committed to working in partnership with communities across Metro Denver, including those who know homelessness personally, to foster actions that make it possible for everyone to have a place to call home, where they can live with hope and dignity.
We will be sharing more information as we transition from development to activation of a campaign to build will to address homelessness.
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To help us understand the views and values Metro Denver residents have about homelessness, we commissioned a poll. Key findings include:
Recognition of the Problem
- More than half of those polled say homelessness is a problem in Metro Denver.
- Most believe it is nearly impossible or very difficult for people who are homeless to find a home.
- More than 1-in-10 of those polled have personally experienced homelessness.
- 44% have friends or family members who have experienced homelessness.
Who is Homeless
- Even as families with children make up more than half of Metro Denver’s homeless population, only 19% of those polled believed there to be higher rates of homeless families.
Why People Become Homeless
- Not many of those polled appreciated how unanticipated changes in family circumstances (caused by such things as domestic violence, unemployment, illness, divorce, death) contribute to homelessness.
Belief in Solutions
- A majority believes the problem of homelessness in Metro Denver can be improved.
- Sizable majorities support increased taxes or fees to provide support services (e.g., mental health, substance abuse) and to develop more housing that is affordable to low-income people (types and amounts of taxes and fees were not specified in the poll).
- There is very little support for punitive measures (e.g., outlawing panhandling, arrests for camping in parks).
- There is a high willingness to take personal actions to help address homelessness (e.g., giving money, volunteering time).