2016 Annual Report Released
Excerpt from the 2016 report...
Letter from Will Connelly:
A few years ago, I was a street outreach worker in Nashville, TN. My job was to engage people sleeping outside while trying to be a nonjudgmental guide through the system of housing and homeless services.
During one of my morning rounds, I approached a man sitting on a stoop close to the riverfront. As I got closer, it became clear that he had passed away. I quickly called the police and waited, sitting quietly by his lifeless body. We never found out this man’s name. He had no identification and he was not known to emergency shelter providers. He was not “connected,” as we say in the field.
This experience helped me understand the lethality of homelessness and the urgency with which we need to approach our work each day. Since taking my post as Executive Director of MDHI, I have been getting to know key leaders and familiarizing myself with the regional work around homelessness. I have been impressed by the region’s committed and innovative partners, who are essential to an effective response to homelessness.
Currently, the region seems to have a collection of programs designed to serve people experiencing homelessness who are seeking services and who are deeply “connected.” This is not acceptable. We can build a “system to end homelessness” that efficiently responds to the dynamic realities of homelessness.
Creating a system to end homelessness is the vision that my team and I will strive to accomplish in the coming months and years. Significantly reducing, and functionally ending homelessness in Metro Denver is possible with a housing-focused, systems based, data-informed approach.
To be successful, the MDHI team will continue to support the programs and interventions that are working well, sharpen those needing improvement, bring rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing programs to scale, implement performance outcome measures, and lead the community in creating a cohesive and unified homeless crisis response system.
Years of being a street outreach worker taught me that progress towards reducing homelessness cannot be made without the full support and commitment of service providers, public servants, the faith community, landlords, and local business people dedicated to reducing homelessness.
I look forward to leading the effort to develop a system to end homelessness based on data and best practices. I am confident that with the full commitment of our community, we can significantly and visibly reduce homelessness in Metro Denver.
Will Connelly, Executive Director, MDHI