Marc and Ana arrived at the Housing Navigation Center having recently lost their housing. Just a few months earlier, they had been on their way to buying their first home. Then Ana had to quit her job to take care of her mother; when her mother passed, Ana maxed out her credit card with funeral expenses. Then Marc got laid off for having a PTSD-related outburst at work.
The challenge of housing instability and homelessness is growing in Weld County, a region uniquely defined by its mix of urban and rural communities. Northern Colorado’s population is rapidly increasing – the Colorado state demographer predicts Weld County’s population will double by 2040.
Weld County was recently identified as the 4th most un-affordable housing market in the nation, and according to the US Census we already have a deficit of over 3,500 units of affordable housing. The ever-increasing cost of housing combined with a job base that often does not pay a living wage is making more households unstable and at-risk of homelessness. In Weld County, 43% of renters and 24% of mortgage payers spend more than 35% of their income on housing, making them vulnerable to financial crisis.
A recent survey of those experiencing homelessness found that 51% have been in Weld County their whole lives, suggesting that long-time residents experience homelessness.
The Housing Navigation Center (HNC) helps those experiencing homelessness regain housing and prevents those at-risk of homelessness from losing housing. The HNC:
- Diverts people from homelessness by helping them return to support networks and avoid the homeless services system.
- Assists people in getting back into permanent housing as quickly as possible.
- Helps people maintain their housing.
- Connects those experiencing homelessness with mental/physical health care, non-emergency shelter, and other long-term resources.
- Provides essential services to help people survive homelessness (cold weather shelter, shower, laundry vouchers, mail collection, etc.).
- Offers space to numerous homeless serving providers to connect with those they serve.
The HNC is part of a Weld County-wide Housing First strategy. Through the Housing First method, households regain housing and stability more quickly, get and keep employment, respond better to mental and physical health treatment, can manage chronic conditions, and more. Plus they stop over-utilizing the emergency department, eliminate law enforcement contacts, and don’t spend time in jail, saving taxpayer dollars.
“The Housing Navigation Center provides a location for a number of community organizations to connect and collaborate towards helping people experiencing homelessness achieve and maintain permanent housing stability. We sometimes have a difficult time locating Veterans with whom we are already working because they don’t have access to a phone or transportation. The HNC keeps people engaged in their housing stability process and provides them the short-term services they need until they are able to find a permanent place of their own.”Lydia Van Thiel, Volunteers of America
Want to help families see to their basic needs?
If a family is struggling with maintaining stable housing, they are more in need for every day items. You can help.
- The Housing Navigation Center is located at 870 28th Street, Greeley, at the northwest corner of 8th Avenue and US-34 behind DriveWise. It is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (excluding holidays). Call 970-515-6281 during regular business hours to reach Housing Navigation Center staff.
- August Services Calendar