There is no single face or cause of homelessness.

Homelessness is never “typical.” There is no single face or cause of homelessness. People experiencing homelessness do have shared basic needs including housing security, food security, and health care. And some people experiencing homelessness may require additional support to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed basis.

But for everyone, the first step in the journey toward self-sufficiency is a roof over one’s head.

Homeward 2020’s 10-Year Plan

The Ten Year Plan outlines our collective effort and key strategies to build a local system to address homelessness in Fort Collins.

Housing First

Housing First is an approach that aims to end homelessness rather than manage it. Simply: people experiencing homelessness need — before mental health services, addiction counseling, job training or anything else — a home.  A lasting solution to homelessness is permanent housing. Far too often, however, communities work to manage the symptoms of homelessness instead of resolve it. Housing First is simple approach to ending homelessness: provide housing, and then offer supportive community services to help people achieve their personal goals. The basic underlying principle of Housing First is that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed.

For years, homeless service providers have worked to offer medical and mental health care, addiction counseling, job training and countless other services to people living on the streets. People experiencing homelessness were told they had to earn their way to permanent housing by checking these boxes. While the intentions behind this approach are good, the unfortunate result is that people are homeless for longer while they work through the system, and those individuals with the most severe needs often cannot check those boxes to access housing.

Housing First programs across the nation share critical elements:

  • A focus on helping individuals and families access permanent housing as quickly as possible;
  • A variety of client-driven, flexible supportive services—such as access to medical care, counseling, job training or employment services, and basic life skills—to promote housing stability and individual well-being on an as-needed basis; and
  • Access to housing without preconditions, including sobriety, employment, or adequate credit or financial history.

The vast majority of homeless individuals and families fall into homelessness after a housing or personal crisis that led them to seek help from the homeless assistance system. For these families and individuals, the Housing First approach is ideal, as it provides them with assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions.

Housing First is an approach that aims to end homelessness rather than manage it. Simply: people experiencing homeless people need — before mental health services, addiction counseling, job training or anything else — is a home.

Homeless to Housed

Many types of housing solutions, services and networks are required to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring.

Our Numbers

Collaborative data allows Fort Collins to better assess the status of homelessness in Fort Collins and measure progress towards our collective vision. The Point In Time is one slice of a large spectrum of indicators that identify community needs.

At the end of the day, we’re just like everyone else. We want to be safe but we don’t have a door to lock. We want to know our things aren’t going to be stolen, we want to know that no one will hurt us.

John, Currently Homeless

For me, the Point-in-Time Count is personal and professional—it shows me what the homeless face every day. And it gives me a real picture of what happens when a community doesn’t provide veterans with productive options to better their lives.

Maggie Walsh, Assistant Chief of Staff, Director Veteran Initiatives, CSU

Our goal is simple and straightforward, we want to strengthen and support the wellbeing of our residents while ensuring a safe community for everyone.

Jeff Mihelich, Deputy City Manager, City of Fort Collins

I first became homeless because I lost my job and couldn't pay rent. Now I have part-time jobs, and work every day of the week. But rent is still too high for me to find a place.  

Trent, Currently Homeless

How do you “rebuild” a life that you never even had? I talked with men & women who moved from foster care or broken families to the street. There’s so much they’ve never had a chance to learn.  

Tina, Point in Time Count volunteer

People judge me for being homeless, and then assume I can’t take care of my dog. So many times I’ve seen people freak out over a homeless dog and completely ignore me.  

Jacob, Currently Homeless

I’m not homeless, I sleep in my car. And, I have temporary construction work. I feel bad for those folks sleeping down by the river. It’s not safe—we could sure use more shelter beds around here.  

Buddy, Living in His Truck