Homelessness in Jeffco

It is a problem that isn't always visible. It is a problem that many associate with downtown Denver, instead of the communities to the west, in Jefferson County. It is a problem with many causes — housing, drugs, alcohol, mental health, domestic abuse, neglect... And, it is a problem with no simple solution.

Beginning in the spring of 2017 Colorado Community Media began publishing a series of reports that sought to look closer at homelessness in all of its facets. Our reporters looked into the county's lose network of severe weather shelters. Reporter Shanna Fortier reported on a lack of a network and shelter locations in the Arvada area, and later covered the a new network of shelters that sprang up there in time for the winter. Reporters took the time to get to know many of the folks in Jeffco that have struggled with homelessness, giving a face to the problem. Reporter Christy Steadman looked into how violence is both a cause and a consequence to life on the streets. Reporter Clarke Reader worked closely with Lakewood shelters and agencies, chronicling the ongoing struggle to provide shelter and services to Jeffco's neediest.

Whether it was talking to a homeless man about a physical altercation, or one of 500 unaccompanied minors in Jeffco, we attempted to tell these stories with both accuracy and empathy.

The series has sought to answer important questions about the topic of homelessness: is it growing in Jeffco? How is it affecting the broader community? How are local housing prices affecting things? What resources are available to help? What do the experts say we should do to make things better?

There are always more questions to answer, and better answers to be found. Expect to see more coverage on this important topic in the weeks and months to come. And as always, contact us, if you have suggestions about related stories you think should be covered.

‘The homeless person ... on the street is a person just like you’

The hotels and motels along West Colfax Avenue have never been just a place to stop during the night for travelers. They also — for years — have served as temporary roofs for homeless people who can afford staying a night or two. Wheat Ridge …

Homelessness in Jeffco steps out of hiding

Small encampments along a nearby jogging path. A sleeping bag tucked under a bridge. The car parked in the far corner of the grocery store parking lot. There, often just out of the public’s sight, are the homeless of Jefferson …

Network of severe weather shelters has gap in Arvada area

On wintry nights, the homeless men and women in central Jefferson County can find shelter with a network of churches that open their doors — but those living in Arvadaare often left out in the cold. The Severe Weather Shelter Network is a …

Violence both a cause and a consequence of homelessness in Jeffco

Darin Barton’s plans on Jan. 14, 2017 were the same as any other day. He was homeless at the time, living in a tent near Golden. For some sort of an income, Barton and two others took turns …
Faces of homelessness
Point in Time survey

Annual homeless count tallies an elusive population

On a balmy January night this year, 5,116 people were counted as being homeless in the Denver metro area. In Jefferson County, 394 homeless individuals were counted. The annual Point in Time (PIT) survey is conducted on a January night across …

Homeless in Jeffco: One day on the streets

Every year in January, a small army of volunteers from churches, human services departments, nonprofits and law enforcement fan out into communities across the nation and conduct a point-in-time …
Our Papers

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