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Audit Report

Denver’s Road Home: Homeless Services

The audit had two objectives. First, we sought to determine the type and level of funding that Denver Human Services and the Office of Economic Development received for and spent on homeless services and prevention between 2014 and 2018. Second, we assessed the effectiveness of Denver’s Road Home’s collaboration and coordination with other key groups within the City.

 

Watch the Audit Committee presentation here.

Homelessness impacts about 3,450 individuals every day in Denver.

In 2007, Denver’s Mayor delegated responsibility for oversight of the City’s homeless strategy and efforts to Denver Human Services. Denver’s Road Home, a division within Denver Human Services, later assumed this responsibility. As the preeminent

City entity supporting homeless programs, Road Home partners with other City agencies, community organizations, and committees to facilitate the coordinated delivery of resources to those in need.

In our second audit of Denver’s Road Home, we identified several areas in need of improvement.

Gaps in Denver’s Road Home’s Collaborative Efforts and Staff Resources Impede Its Progress in Addressing Homelessness

  • Denver’s Road Home Has Strengthened Partnerships but Has Not Established Certain Crucial Elements of Collaboration
    • Road Home lacks a strategic plan to address homelessness and has no communitywide performance metrics
    • Road Home’s collaboration with its partners is fragmented
    • There is uncertainty over who is ultimately responsible for leading strategic planning and policy within the City on homelessness
  • Road Home Lacks the Staff Resources Necessary to Carry Out Its Current Role
    • Road Home has not conducted a staffing analysis in the past 10 years
    • Road Home is unable to fulfill some of its responsibilities, including strategic planning, policy development, and data analysis
    • Several employees have had to assume duties beyond the scope of their job descriptions, including contract management and event planning

The Advisory Committee for Housing People Experiencing Homelessness Should Strengthen Its Bylaws

  • Draft bylaws do not require members to reveal, or take action to avoid, potential conflicts of interest
  • Draft bylaws do not require committee performance evaluations

1.1 Reassess Responsible Agency for Homelessness – The Mayor’s Office should reassess what City agency, agencies, or other groups are responsible for developing and implementing the City’s strategic plan and related policies for homelessness. Executive Order 91 should be revised or replaced to clearly document the responsible party.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – July 2019, January 2020

1.2 Create Homelessness Strategic Plan – After the Mayor’s Office makes its determination of which agency or agencies are responsible for developing and implementing the City’s strategic plan and related policies for homelessness, the responsible party should develop a comprehensive citywide strategic plan and related policies specific to homelessness. The strategic plan should include citywide performance measures that help the City assess ongoing efforts to reduce homelessness.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – August 2020

1.3 Conduct Staffing Analysis – The Director of Denver’s Road Home should work with Denver Human Services and the Budget and Management Office, as needed, to ensure a staffing analysis

is conducted of Road Home’s current staff resources that considers Road Home’s role and responsibilities.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – August 2019, August 2020

1.4 Align Road Home Staff Resources – After completing the staffing analysis, the Director of Road Home should work with the Executive Director of Denver Human Services to ensure Road Home’s staff resources align with the division’s responsibilities.

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – August 2019, August 2020

2.1 Strengthen Bylaws – The Advisory Committee for Housing People Experiencing Homelessness should include the following important elements in its bylaws:

  • A description of the committee’s process for avoiding potential conflicts of interest, which should include annual submissions of disclosure forms and recusal from voting in the event of a conflict;
  • A requirement for the committee to perform self-evaluations on a regular basis, including the frequency of self-evaluations; and
  • A requirement to keep meeting minutes with guidelines for what topics should be recorded (such as vote tallies and abstentions).

Agency Response: Agree, Implementation Date – July 2019

Follow-up report

A follow-up report is forthcoming. 

Other related reports

None at this time.

Audit Team: Emily Owens Gerber, Brad Harwell, Maria Durant, Dave Hancock, Marc Hoffman, Drew Woodward, Dawn Wiseman