News Briefs: City Council Approves Additional Homeless Funds

Published September 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 8

Two Denver City Council members expressed concern over city contractors who begin work before the contracts in question are properly executed and signed by the city. Councilman Charlie Brown raised the issue last month during a vote to approve a $525,000 contract for homeless services by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Despite the vote being in August, the contract had a start date of April 1st, and the CCH, after receiving the go-ahead from the Denver Department of Human Services, had already begun to spend the money.

According to the city’s website, this is a common practice. Seventy five percent of expenditure contracts this year have had a start date before the contract is scheduled to reach the office of the mayor and the auditor. Councilman Charlie Brown asked the city council to vote down the CCH contract in order to set an example for other contractors.

Ultimately, the majority of the Council members decided a contract concerning money to help Colorado’s homeless was not the best contract to make an example of by voting down. “This is not the issue I want to hold up as an example,” said Councilwoman Marcia Johnson. The contract was approved 10-2, with Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz siding with Brown and Councilman Paul Lopez absent. BJ Iacino of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless says the organization is grateful the city did not take steps to compromise their ability to deliver services.

-- Sarah Harvey