New research reveals that over the past three years, Denver has spent close to $2 billion trying to solve its homelessness crisis.
According to the Common Sense Institute’s annual research, Colorado has spent over $2 billion on homelessness over the past three years, with most of that money going to the Denver metro region.
The survey indicated that over $1.9 billion was allocated to address homelessness, or between $30,000 and $60,000.
Meanwhile, the number of people living on the streets of Denver continues to rise.
From 5,728 in 2016 to an estimated 9,065 in 2023, a 58% increase in homelessness has been recorded in the Denver metropolitan region, according to the report.
According to the report, Denver currently has the tenth-highest homeless population in the United States.
“It’s a public policy challenge that dominated the election season and generated conversations in neighborhoods across the state. And, rightfully so, this is an issue that pulls at our heartstrings and challenges our compassion,” Kelly Caufield, executive director at the Common Sense Institute said in a statement.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston took office in July, at which time he proclaimed a homelessness emergency and pledged to provide permanent housing for 1,000 formerly homeless people by the end of the year.
Denver police looked into reports of a “pop-up bar” selling alcohol at a homeless encampment last month, as well as reports of prostitution taking place in rented tents.
Pictures of the “pop-up bar” revealed coolers, padded seats, a chaise lounge, couches, tents, and astroturf flooring, in addition to dozens of liquor bottles lined up on shelves. There were large umbrellas for shade and dozens of what seemed to be empty liquor bottles.
The police also examined accusations of tents and couches being rented out for prostitution.
Other metropolitan cities have also been battling with a persistent homeless problem and the drug usage and criminality that typically go hand in hand.
The homeless situation that has plagued San Francisco for years has only worsened since the epidemic began. On any given night, the Bay Area is home to almost 38,000 people experiencing homelessness. That’s a 35% increase from 2019. San Francisco is home to a homeless population of around 7,000 individuals. Due in part to the homeless problem, businesses in downtown San Francisco have closed their doors.
In Los Angeles, homelessness has risen 10% this year, according to the 2023 Greater Los Angeles homeless census findings. The number of homeless individuals in the city of Los Angeles alone increased to over 46,260. The number of people without homes in Los Angeles County as a whole increased to over 75,518.