Homelessness in Durango
Homelessness is a national issue with deep roots, but solutions are often expected at the local level. Within this framework, the City of Durango, La Plata County, and numerous stakeholder groups have met for years in search of the best ways to help our local homeless population. The services offered include providing mental health support, housing vouchers, food, medical assistance, trash, and waste cleanup, and law enforcement management.
The combined efforts exemplify the community’s generosity but typically address symptoms of homelessness versus the structural causes. As such, the scale of the challenges inherent in combating homelessness makes finding permanent, long-term solutions based solely on local efforts exceedingly difficult.
Homeless advocates display great sympathy while asking that the city does more to assist this population. Like most of the community, they are very concerned when people have no place to live, can’t find housing or jobs, don’t have a place to go to the bathroom, shower, dump their garbage, or get mental health or substance abuse help. We appreciate and recognize this view.
We also hear from those in our community who are upset about trash, the safety of our parks, camping on public property, illegal fires, and crime in their neighborhoods. Many of these individuals feel that the city, the county, and support agencies do too much enabling and that many people abuse the system. These are also valid concerns.
For the police department, the response to homelessness is one of the most critical issues they face daily. Their main concern is the victimization of the mentally ill, inclement weather, and the lack of sobering centers and treatment facilities.
As we move forward as a community, the city seeks a balanced approach that respects the needs of the unhoused while minimizing the impact of the homeless community on the larger population. The city supports a consortium of stakeholder organizations with expertise in specific areas of homelessness to provide services and advise the city on the issue. We welcome the public’s input.”
If you would like to submit comments on this topic, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Durango Support for Unhoused and Housing Insecure Population (2015-2022)
The term “Camp” or “Camping” is defined as temporary use or occupancy of a location for the purposes of a living accommodation – sleeping or with the intent to sleep in a location.
The term “Shelter” or “Sheltering” is defined as the use of property owned or managed by the City as authorized by the written action of the City Manager (or other designated City officials).
Any property that is authorized for temporary overnight sleeping arrangements will be based on a period not to exceed the time between one hour before sunset of one day and one hour after sunrise of the next day. This includes with or without the use of covers or other protection from the elements as specified pursuant to the provisions of the City code.
Occupancy of certain motor vehicles in public rights of way:
It shall be unlawful for any person to occupy any boat, camper trailer, camper coach, motor home, trailer coach, recreational vehicle, truck, commercial vehicle, or school bus - terms defined in the Model Traffic Code as adopted by the City. This includes vehicles used primarily as personal transportation for the purpose of camping or sleeping, if located on any street, public rights of way, or City owned and/or managed parking lots within the City limits.