The city of Denver, which Democrat mayors have governed since 1963, spends at least double on homelessness than it does on K-12 students.
According to a study conducted by the University of Colorado Denver and the advocacy group Common Sense Institute, “the city reportedly spends between $41,679 and $104,201 on each person experiencing homelessness in a year while only $19,202 on each K-12 public school student over the same period of time,” Fox News reported.
Denver’s Fox 31 reported that the city spends $481 million on services for the homeless, including health care, housing, and more.
“Homelessness spending in the Denver metro is nearly four times the 2021 budget for the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and hundreds of millions more than the labor and employment or the public safety departments,” the station reported.
The city announced a five-year plan for decreasing homelessness on Wednesday. However, the city does not track per-capita spending, a city spokesperson told the Denver Post.
According to Fox News:
“The aim of all these steps and our entire strategy is to help as many of our unhoused residents as possible to enter housing — and to stay housed,” Mayor Michael Hancock wrote in a letter Wednesday with the release of the five-year plan. He also defended the city’s increased homeless encampment sweeps. “When homelessness occurs, we should do everything in our power — as a society, not just as a government — to make it brief and one-time.”
Denver has struggled with a large homelessness problem for years. Back in 2014, homeless centers in the city said the state’s decision to legalize pot spawned an influx of homelessness that strained the state’s system, Breitbart News reported.
According to the Common Sense Institute, the city of Denver saw a 25 percent increase in its homeless population between January 2017 and January 2020.
“And a greater increase is expected to be seen because of the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the institute reported.
City of Denver data reportedly shows there was a 46 percent increase in the number of guests at emergency shelters from January 2020 to January 2021, though the 2021 Point in Time count was not conducted because of the pandemic.