The Housing and Human Services Department (HHS) strives to enable all Boulder community members thrive. HHS provides services and investments in community projects so everyone can experience Boulder as a just, inclusive, and equitable community. HHS commits to achieving this mission by building relationships with those served; fostering collaborative partnerships; addressing systemic inequities; investing in and implementing effective, sustainable and solution-based policies and programs, and creating and preserving a diversity of housing options.
HHS strategic goals are 1) affordability, enabling diverse community members to be able to afford to live in Boulder; and 2) inclusivity, fostering a safe and welcoming environment for all Boulder community members. Throughout the pandemic, HHS has deepened and expanded our services and investments to meet the unique needs of low-income community members and others who experience socio-economic and health disparities. Key activities include direct assistance and programming for older adults, youth and families; mental health co-responder services; rental assistance and eviction prevention; community mediation; support for sheltering and transition-to-housing programs for people experiencing homelessness; affordable housing and homeownership programs; and investments in a wide range of health equity, human services and substance use prevention programs.
Included in the 2023 Budget is an increase of $18.7 million compared to the department's 2022 Approved Budget. A total of $2.3 million of this increase will fund strategic budget enhancements to fund key housing investments and services to the community, including a new Homelessness Day Services Center providing space for day services for individuals experiencing homelessness, and a non-law enforcement alternative response pilot program, the Community Assistance Response Team, creating a model for medical professionals to respond to certain low-level emergency and non-emergency calls.
Of the $18.7 million increase in the department budget, approximately $16 million is related to a budget realignment to align department appropriation with the annual budget cycle. Prior budget practice included submitting a large mid-year adjustment-to-base for grants and unspent funds; in the 2023 Budget, this adjustment is included with the annual budget submittal.
Operating Budget (FY2021-23)
Provides oversight of the department work programs, policy development and implementation, strategic and community planning, implementation of Housing initiatives, Human Services Strategies, regional partnership development and coordination, finance and budget oversight, data management, and public communications.
Leads initiatives to address community housing needs, social policy and equity issues through: community and stakeholder engagement; supportive policy, market and data analysis; development of effective policies and programs; identification and creation of effective social response systems, and oversees development and implementation of the Housing and Human Services, and Homelessness Strategies. Coordinates with other city departments, community organizations and partners to implement city programs, policies and regulations including the Inclusionary Housing ordinance, and the Boulder County Regional Housing Partnership. The team establishes and monitors appropriate metrics to measure program success and effectiveness. The team also staffs the Housing Advisory Board.
The Behavioral Health Response program represents a newly organized program in the department, comprising Behavioral Health Strategy Partnerships, the Crisis Intervention and Response Team, and a new pilot program for 2023 to support non-law enforcement alternative response, called the Community Assistance Response Team, for certain low-level emergency and non-emergency calls.
Community Investment provides financial resources, technical assistance, compliance monitoring to housing partners and community-serving agencies. Local and federal housing funds create and preserve affordable housing; federal community development funding facilitates capital improvements to community facilities and supports programs serving low- and moderate-income persons. Human Services Funding supports the operations of community nonprofits. Health Equity Fund furthers health promotion, wellness programs, and chronic disease prevention to address health equity. The Substance Education and Awareness grant funds community education and prevention programs for children, youth and families related to substance use and impacts.
Community Mediation and Resolution assists community members with a range of conflict resolution services with special emphasis on housing-related matters. Services include the Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Services program (EPRAS), mediation, restorative justice, meeting facilitation, and landlord-tenant information and resources. Community Mediation and Resolution also includes a Tenant Advisory Committee to support the work of EPRAS.
Community Relations consists of the Human Relations Commission (HRC), the Office of Human Rights (OHR), and the Food Tax Rebate Program (FTRP). The HRC is charged with identifying and addressing human relations issues and social problems, fostering positive community relations and protecting human rights, and making social policy recommendations to City Council. It also allocates funding to the community for cultural events and diversity and inclusion programs. OHR enforces the municipal Human Rights and Failure to Pay Wages Ordinances. FTRP provides a rebate on municipal sales tax on food items to income qualified individuals and families living in the city.
Family Services includes the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCS), subsidies to support childcare providers in offering financial assistance to low- and lower- middle-income families for quality, affordable childcare, and Family Resource Schools (FRS), a partnership with the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) to provide
outreach, direct services and referrals for families and children to remove academic and non-academic barriers to success in five Boulder elementary schools. Family Services promotes youth leadership development and civic engagement through the Youth Opportunities Program (YOP) and the Youth Opportunities Advisory Board (YOAB), which advises the city on youth-related issues in the community.
Through partnership within HHS, other city departments and our regional partners, supports sheltering for people experiencing homelessness and advances a “housing first” strategy to help transition community members from homeless to housed. Key initiatives include joint implementation of the Homeless Strategies for Boulder County; investments in nonprofit agencies; implementing special staff- or city council-initiated projects to support basic needs assistance and housing access for homeless individuals.
Prior to the pandemic, Older Adult Services (OAS) provided programs and services for older adults at the East and West Age Well Centers which included program content such as health and wellness, fitness, lifelong learning, day trips and educational programs. Other services include resource and referral to community services, and short-term case management with financial assistance for basic needs to older adults with lower incomes. OAS is part of the Regional Aging Network which is a countywide collaboration with other governmental older adult services to plan, coordinate and evaluate services for older adults. OAS has an Age Well Advisory Committee that advises OAS staff on policy and programs related to older adults. The recent budget situation required the closing of the East Age Well Center and the reduction/suspension of many lifelong learning, educational programs, support groups, wellness programs, and day trips. All other services continue, and suspended programs and services will resume as conditions improve and resources are available including the reopening of the East Age Well Center.