HOMELESS BOUND: Aurora officials approve longer contracts with 4 homeless service programs

Funds for the contracts will be generated using marijuana tax revenues in the city, according to city documents.

AURORA | Four programs that provide services to Aurora’s homeless population will now operate under longer contracts with the city, Aurora city council members decided at a regular meeting June 5.

A majority of council members signed off on a quartet of updated contract agreements between the city and several local organizations that offer an array of resources to homeless people in Aurora. The new contracts change the agreement terms from one year to slightly more than three-and-a-half years. The agreements will now be in place, as long as the groups continue to comply with city procedures and submit regular reports, through the end of 2020.

The four homeless programs and providers are Aurora Mental Health Center’s support of the city’s new Day Resource Center, Comitis Crisis Center’s support at the Day Resource Center, the Comitis Crisis Center’s outreach team and the Aurora Housing Authority’s landlord recruitment program.

Council member Charlie Richardson was the lone council member to vote against all four contract extensions. Councilwoman Barb Cleland abstained from voting on two of the agreements, those pertaining to Aurora Mental Health Center and the landlord recruitment program, due to conflicts of interest. All other council members, save for Renie Peterson, who was absent from Monday’s meeting, were unanimous in their support for the updated homeless compacts.

Contract extensions for some of the city’s homeless programs first came up at the behest of City Councilman Bob LeGare during a recent meeting of the city’s Housing, Neighborhood Services and Redevelopment Policy Committee. City staff explained that while most homeless providers have operated under one-year contracts with the city in the past, longer contracts would provide more stability for the respective programs.

Funds for the contracts will be generated using marijuana tax revenues in the city, according to city documents.

Services provided by Comitis and Mile High Behavioral Healthcare at the forthcoming Day Resource Center will take up the bulk of the approved funds, with a contract totaling $2,674,712 through the end of 2020, according to city documents. The remaining funds will be divided as follows: $353,272 for an Aurora Mental Health staffer at the Day Resource Center, $316,000 for Comitis’ outreach team and $165,000 for the landlord recruitment program.

The Day Resource Center, located in a former police gymnasium on the University of Colorado Anschutz medical campus, is slated to open in about two weeks. At roughly 10,000-square-feet of total space, the facility will offer a bevy of services from about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Comitis’ outreach team travels around the city via van, offering supplies and additional resources to homeless people. The Aurora Housing Authority program provides incentives to landlords willing to provide rental accommodations to people using housing vouchers.