Housing Shortages Boost Parolee Numbers in Shelters

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Due in part to a lack of affordable housing, parolee numbers are increasing in the Denver metro area’s homeless shelters, raising concerns among homeless advocates, reported the Rocky Mountain News. More than one in four parolees in the Denver metro area are living in homeless shelters or other temporary housing, according to a new study by the Piton Foundation and Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. While many end up in shelters immediately after getting out of prison, other parolees may return months later, said the coalition’s director. The study found the most parolees – 141 – in a Salvation Army shelter in downtown Denver, which features a state-installed electronic monitoring system that can track as many as 75 parolees simultaneously. According to the Department of Corrections, shelters are sometimes the only option for providing parolees with the mandatory fixed address. Officials seek to move parolees from shelters within two weeks by providing job-search training, said a state corrections official. Still, the presence of parolees in shelters is straining the mental health system, creating a shortage of shelter beds, and shifting the burden of care for parolees from the state to cities, homeless advocates and human service officials said. Initiatives by Gov. Bill Ritter’s administration to address the problem are a source of hope, said Denver’s manager of human services.

Study Finds Increasing Number of Parolees in Region’s Homeless Shelters
05/28/2007 | Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)

Parolee Says It’s Hard To Get Work Living at a Shelter
05/28/2007 | Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)