Study puts $1.7 billion price tag on spending on homeless services | Colorado

(The Center Square) — Just weeks away from voters deciding Proposition 123, a new study finds spending to address homelessness in the Denver metro area will reach about $1.7 billion over a three-year period. year.

The study by the Common Sense Institute, a free enterprise think tank, details how much public and nonprofit groups plan to spend on homeless services between 2021 and 2023.

These expenses have increased from $465 million in 2021 to $598 million in 2022, and will be $660 million in 2023, according to the study.

CSI attributed the spending increases to a one-time influx of federal funds.

“Funding has increased dramatically in recent years, and much of the increase comes from one-time federal, state, and municipal spending,” said CSI’s vice president of policy and research, co-author of the study, in a press release. “The homelessness resource system is at a critical point and has the potential to lead to transformational change.”

The increase in spending comes at a time when the number of homeless people has also increased by 13% since 2020.

“As resources to address homelessness have increased each year, homeless and chronically homeless populations have also increased,” the study says. “Housing affordability in Colorado has plummeted, overall price levels are at record highs due to inflation, and the state’s housing inventory is dangerously low. This is a worrying precursor to sustained high levels of new homelessness.

A separate CSI study found that housing affordability in Colorado is the lowest in 30 years and that the housing shortage in the state is between 93,000 and 216,000 units through 2020.

Colorado voters will decide next month Proposition 123which proposes to use state tax revenues to subsidize affordable housing projects, as well as some programs for the homeless.

CSI in his ballot called the proposal “an ambitious step that has the potential to drive transformational change in our Colorado housing market,” but warned that if passed, it would only be “as successful as the number of local governments deciding to participate in the program.

Eleanor C. William