DENVER — When it comes to living on the streets, there's lots to talk about. That's why the City and County of Denver had two events to discuss the state of homelessness in Colorado.
"We have a lot to be proud of on the provider level around coordination, particularly in Denver," Christina Carlson of Urban Peak Denver said.
Carlson is one of several community leaders who joined city leaders on a panel to talk about how things are going.
"When people come to us and they don’t have a place to stay, it also means that they don’t have other services," Venecia Kerr with Mile High United Way said.
The panel said around 32,000 people experience homelessness each year.
"One of three foster care youth become homeless on the day they turn 18," Carlson said.
While homelessness is still a serious issue, the panel members say the situation appears to be improving.
"Here in Denver we had over 1,000 hotel rooms at our peak being used for people experiencing homelessness," Britta Fisher with the Denver Department of Housing Stability said.
In downtown Denver, the city also hosted an open microphone session to hear the public's perspective on homelessness. The sentiment there sounded much different.
"I don't see the homeless population going down. I see it keep rising," one man said without identifying himself.
Another man said there are serious problems with homeless sweeps, especially during cold weather.
"People were being swept this morning when it was 15 degrees outside. We’ve had medical professionals telling the city that this is not a good idea," he said.
Ernesto Vigil said he is homeless. He said more resources are needed to care for people suffering in the cold.
"When there’s trouble going on and people sleeping in the freezing cold, then I go and I address that problem. I’m not the problem. I’m not the trouble maker -- I will advocate for the homeless," Vigil said.
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