helpCOS homelessness

El Paso County is among five Colorado communities to join Metro Denver in a national movement to end chronic and veteran homelessness.

Today, Community Solutions, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing announced the creation of a cohort designed to end chronic homelessness in Colorado. 

The cohort includes El Paso County and five other local communities along the Front Range, mountain communities, and the Western Slope, according to a news release from Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to compare notes with other communities across the nation, tap into expert guidance from federal agencies and partner organizations, and build an action plan to get tangible results in our community,” Andy Barton, Pikes Peak Continuum of Care Board chair, said in the release.

The cohort — which is being supported through community health funding from Kaiser Permanente — is part of Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative.

Community Solutions was founded in 2011 by Rosanne Haggerty, who had worked for decades seeking solutions to homelessness. Haggerty was convinced that “a holistic, command-center approach and use of by-name, real-time information can equip communities to match resources to the specific needs of individuals to end homelessness” — and Built for Zero was launched in 2015 to help communities work together to do that. 

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“No community can end homelessness of any kind without comprehensive, real-time, person-specific data on the problem,” Built for Zero’s website states. “This has emerged as a gospel tenet of our work.”

Built for Zero now includes more than 70 communities across the country.

“The link between housing and health is well-documented,”Mike Ramseier, president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, said in the release. “With nearly 11,000 Coloradans experiencing homelessness each day, we know more must be done to improve the health of our communities. … We are honored to partner with these local institutions and communities as we work collectively to end chronic homelessness.”

The communities will collaborate on building tailored plans to address homelessness in their specific areas, adopt proven best practices, use data to improve homelessness plan performance, and use existing resources more efficiently, Kaiser Permanente Colorado spokesman Nick Roper said.