Following a recent grant from our club to Homeward Alliance, we were joined this past week by the Executive Director of Homeward Alliance, David Rout and his Development Director, Pam Brewer. Together they shared the history of the organization, its accomplishments and intended future direction.
Pam spoke first. The effort began as Homeless Gear housed at the Murphy Center which expanded to Homeless Alliance (HA) in 2018.  HA's mission statement is “To empower individuals and families who face homelessness to survive, move forward and thrive”.  The service population in Larimer county includes 5000 adults and children and addresses basic needs, employment service, housing and behavioral services. The spectrum of services goes from short term needs to intensive complex case management.
In Ft Collins we see 500-750 chronically homeless persons, often older and with disabilities.  Approximately 1500 PSD students require assistance at least one time per year. As many as 11,000 families in Ft Collins are “cost-burdened” meaning they are one emergency away from financial crisis.  In 2020 HA empowered 306 individuals to escape to permanent housing.  The overall goal is to make homelessness “rare, short-lived and non-recurring”.
David continued. Reviewing the response over the past ten years we see an expansion of services from city to region, an increase in the quality of services, the development of tools for evaluation and execution and, ever increasing collaboration between the many agencies in the region.  Historically the state was been divided  into Denver, Colorado Springs and the “rest” of Colorado for purposes of obtaining Federal grants (HUD).  Now, Weld and Larimer counties are recognized in a “continuum of care”, enhancing access to HUD funds,
Statewide shared data is essential. HA oversees local data collection, shares data, insures its quality and coordination. An example of functionality coming soon is a client “swipe card” which will contain personal data and provide quick access as well as practical items like bus passes.  Also, coming soon is the creation of a “dashboard” which will allow up-to-date continuity of care by teams as well as standard assessment tools.
As we travel around Northern Colorado we likely only see the “tip of the iceberg” of homelessness and appreciate the dedication,  professionalism and accomplishments of David and Pam and the entire HA team.