Homeless issues in Littleton

Thank you for having this meeting with us. My question has to do with the homeless. We went to dinner in Littleton, and I saw over by the Melting Pot parking lot, there’s some homeless people living in that area. I also noticed there’s homes right to the back of where these people are living. There’s only a fence separating it. I’m just wondering what Littleton can do about. What can the police do about requesting people to move? I know my son runs in the Bear Creek area, and the smell there, he said, it’s just getting worse and worse. Then the other day, a man came up and just started ranting at him, and he wasn’t sure if the man was going to attack him or just continue to rant, and he just avoided the situation. But it just seems to be coming out this way other than just Downtown Denver.

Littleton Police Chief Doug StephensChief Douglas Stephens: Thank you. Yeah. We are hearing more and more about these types of problems, and there’s a couple of different things that we can do. Littleton, we do have some ordinances that prohibit the erection of structures. So kind of that would limit the ability of folks to establish large-scale camps or even small camps. We’re very proactive in how we deal with that so that we don’t end up with a situation like you see in some of our neighboring jurisdictions, where the problem just gets so huge, you can’t manage it. So if you do see a structure’s going up or places where you feel like folks are living, please let us know, and we’ll work with our code enforcement folks to go in there and talk with individuals.

We have a pretty positive relationship with most folks that are regulars in the Littleton neighborhoods. So we know most of them are very cooperative, and if we tell them we’re receiving complaints and they need to move along, they’ll usually move along. If not, we can go through code enforcement and ourselves and work on removing those properties after proper notice. But I think this is a good example of an opportunity here to talk about our co-responder program with our partnership with AllHealth Network. They’re not just mental health professionals, but they’re also a tremendous conduit to other types of services, whether that be housing or food or what other types of services that homeless folks especially are often in need of, and we’ll use our co-responders, and they’re out there with us. They’ll go on those types of calls with us, and now they’ll develop relationships as well with individuals who may need immediate assistance or may need longer-term assistance, and that’s a great example of how we can partner with the private sector and AllHealth Network to provide some of those longer term solutions to folks who are willing to accept that type of help.

So let us know. Again, on the folks in that are… Gave the example of the person running, and they had a person who was kind of being disruptive, please let us know about that as soon as you can. It’s probably not to the only individual that they’ve bothered or been disruptive towards. So we’d like to know about that so we can get out there and contact those folks as well.

Littleton City Manager Mark RelphCity Manager Mark Relph: Let me just make another comment here on the homelessness. I think the chief mentioned here, we are seeing more calls for service related to that. We also have the three cities of Englewood, Littleton, and Sheridan. We meet regularly to talk about several things, one of which is homelessness. The three councils from those cities decided to put together a task force and for which our chief participates in that, and certainly, the city manager’s office here in Littleton. The purpose of that is trying to get a better understanding of, what do we really have as far as the homeless problem? How many people do we have? Because obviously, they tend to look at the river corridor as one of their major kind of routes and for them to live perhaps.

So the purpose of that is also for this group is to look for perhaps strategies and common policies for us to kind of help manage that. Ultimately, it’s also to try to connect the homeless with the right resources. As the chief keeps reiterating here, is it’s not necessarily the police department. So we’re looking for other resources. I think we’ve learned a lot here in the past year through this Tri-City group. In fact, I think we’re looking to report out here to both council or all councils of these three cities here later this fall.