Preventing and ending homelessness
When Barry was being asked to leave his apartment, he knew he could secure another affordable place if he could get $150 for a deposit.
For their life success, it is fundamental that each individual or family has stable housing. A permanent address leads to better physical health, mental health, employment, addiction recovery and other outcomes and costs the community less in services than managing people in homelessness rather than ending it.
- Weld County was recently ranked as the U.S. region most likely to be on the verge of a housing crisis and the tenth most unaffordable housing market in the nation.
- Over half of Weld County renter households pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs, putting them in a precarious financial position, unable to meet expenses and to save for the future.
- The solution to homelessness is housing, not more services or being sure that someone is “housing ready” before they move into a new home.
- United Way manages the Northern Colorado Continuum of Care, the community collaboration that can end homelessness in Weld and Larimer counties.
As with many larger metropolitan areas, and especially in places increasing in population like Northern Colorado, Weld County is being challenged with homelessness and housing instability. The ever-increasing cost of housing combined with a job base that too often does not pay a living wage is making more and more households unstable and at-risk of homelessness. For example, a single parent making Colorado’s minimum wage of $12.56 per hour would need to work 67 hours per week to afford a one bedroom apartment in Weld County.
This situation is difficult for each household and is costly for our community. Individuals experiencing homelessness over-utilize first responder and health care resources. Households experiencing homelessness depend on government assistance, rather than productively participating in the community. Children without stable housing drastically under-perform their stably housed peers, leading to poorer lifelong outcomes.
“One of our core values involves giving back to our community. United Way of Weld County does an incredible job of meeting the needs of so many families and agencies and always with compassion and integrity.”Scott Warner, president, Connecting Point
By 2024, the Weld’s Way Home community-wide goal is to decrease the number of people that are living out-of-doors or in a car in Greeley/Evans from approximately 236 to fewer than 100.
The Weld’s Way Home shared effort includes over 50 organizations. Investments are made in a number of programs with county-wide impact that lead to people ending their experience of homelessness and maintaining housing. Activities include (with those offered by United Way staff underlined in gold)
serving the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness and extreme household instability
offering a seasonal cold weather shelter and year-round emergency shelters
providing focused case management for those who are hardest to house
increasing food security
meeting rent and other household expense assistance
training for workforce readiness
increasing transportation options and homeownership opportunities
Plus, United Way manages the Northern Colorado Continuum of Care, which is the primary place for collaboration in order to make homelessness rare, short-lived, and non-recurring in Weld and Larimer counties.
- Northern Colorado Continuum of Care
- Collective Impact Fund
- Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System (CAHPS)
- Emergency Food and Shelter Program
- Get Ahead Colorado Earned Income Tax Credit Initiative
- Greeley-Evans Transit Bus Pass Program
- Housing Navigation Center
- SingleCare Prescription Drug Discount Card
- Thriving Weld Housing and Land Use Project