Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (the Coalition) was established in 1984 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It was founded by a group of individuals with a will to take action on behalf of Colorado’s homeless. They recognized the struggles of working people living in poverty. And they refused to tolerate the dangers faced by those people sleeping in their cars, in tents or on the streets.
More than 30 years later, many of the underlying social causes of homelessness persist, like poverty, shortages of affordable housing, and unattainable healthcare. The Coalition’s integrated housing, healthcare and supportive service programs have been highly effective at responding to these conditions over time.
A major milestone for the organization was the opening of Stout Street Clinic in 1985 thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Since the Clinic’s grand opening and subsequent expansion in 2002, the Coalition has become the leading healthcare provider for the homeless in Colorado. The Clinic includes primary and pediatric care, an eye clinic, a full-service pharmacy, a dental clinic, mental health and substance abuse treatment, respite care and health outreach.
In 2014, the Stout Street Health Center replaced the former Stout Street Clinic, an aging structure that lacked adequate space to effectively meet the complex health care needs of an expanding homeless population. The Health Center fully integrates patient-centered, trauma-informed medical and mental health care, substance treatment services, dental and vision care, social services and supportive housing to more fully address the spectrum of problems homeless patients bring to their medical providers. Specialized services for homeless children and families are also incorporated. The Health Center provides integrated health care for up to 18,000 homeless men, women and children each year.
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless staff, volunteers, and programs have been honored with a number of awards over the years. In 2002, the Coalition’s President, John Parvensky, received the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award, recognizing his unique vision and leadership. In 2008, President George W. Bush personally presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award to Cherie Yeager, a volunteer with the Stout Street Eye Clinic. A number of our affordable housing properties have earned national recognition, including Renaissance Uptown Lofts, Renaissance Off Broadway Lofts, Renaissance Riverfront Lofts, Renaissance at Civic Center,Renaissance at Concord Plaza, Renaissance at Loretto Heights, and The Forum Apartments.
At the Colorado State Capitol, the Coalition has successfully advocated for more than a dozen major legislative efforts aimed at reducing homelessness, expanding affordable housing and protecting individual rights. In 2012, the Coalition lead the campaign against the city's unauthorized camping ban ordinance. In 2010, the Coalition worked with the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force to advance and pass bills that would help cut poverty in half. In 2009, the Coalition led an aggressive nine-week campaign to restore the state's Aid to the Needy Disabled (AND) program. In 2008, the Coalition helped ensure the passage of the Warranty of Habitability law.
Milestones and a timeline of our history