One of our state’s most ardent advocates for people experiencing homelessness is getting a new job. Colorado Village Collaborative today announced that Executive Director, Cole Chandler. would depart the organization on August 12th to take over a new role as the Director of Homeless Initiatives with the Colorado Department of Human Services.
An announcement by Chairperson of the board, Terrell Curtis, said “Cole has led this passionate, grassroots organization in becoming a vital partner in addressing Denver’s housing crisis. What started as a small group of tiny homes on borrowed space has evolved to ensure nearly 200 people each night have access to housing among our two Tiny Home Villages and three Safe Outdoor Spaces, with essential services also provided.”
In May, Chandler helped the CVC collaborate with the St. Francis Center to move one of their Safe Outdoor Spaces from its home at Regis University to a new section of land in the Barnum neighborhood. In June, the CVC hosted an open house to celebrate its 5th anniversary and the opening of their new Beloved Community Village, located in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, complete with newly designed tiny houses.
In his 2022 state of the city address Mayor Michael Hancock said “tiny homes and Safe Outdoor Spaces are now proven successful transition programs.”
Chandler’s leadership was not without controversy. In 2021, some Park Hill residents objected to locating a Safe Outdoor Space at neighboring Park Hill United Methodist Church due to safety concerns. It eventually moved forward despite the outcry. During that time, Chandler said “We’re seeing some of the greatest numbers of homeless that we’ve seen since the Great Depression, and there are not enough places for people to go. We need solutions like this that seek to mitigate harm, seek to reduce impacts in surrounding neighborhoods and, most importantly, seek to provide services and long-term housing connections to people on the streets.”
Chandler’s leadership has propelled CVC to advocate for those experiencing homelessness. The CVC has helped pass policies that have changed Denver’s zoning code and successfully urged the city to fund homeless resolution services.
The Colorado Village Collaborative recognizes the strain and hardship that people endure and has created a dignified program in hopes of ending homelessness in Denver. Now, with one of their original leaders moving to a new position, they look to find someone who can try to replicate his success.
The Colorado Village Collaborative, which strives to create transformational housing communities for those experiencing homelessness, is now seeking a new Chief Executive Officer. The Board has appointed CVC Chief Operating Officer Shay-La Romney to the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer.