Nonprofits  February 7, 2022

Alison Hade helps Loveland’s CPO office tackle homelessness

As the manager of Loveland’s Community Partnership Office, Alison Hade gets to see visible results from her work, though most are not immediate.

Sometimes, it’s the year-to-year statistics that demonstrate the impact Hade and the office have on Loveland’s nonprofits and the city’s homeless population. Sometimes, it’s a new program that comes into play, like the point-in-time homeless count. And sometimes, it’s a program change, such as the expansion of an inclement weather shelter into an overnight winter shelter.

“This type of work is incredibly rewarding,” Hade said “You get to see people’s lives change, and that’s an incredible outcome any day of the week. It’s slow, but it’s still a great outcome.”

Hade joined the CPO in 2011 to oversee its work to improve access to affordable housing and to eradicate homelessness. The office provides staff support for the city’s Affordable Housing Commission and Human Services Commission, and it collaborates with human service, housing and other area agencies to support the city’s underserved community members.

The CPO distributes grant funds to agencies through the city’s sales tax dollars and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grants — the grants are given annually to Loveland-based nonprofits to help fund services, provide affordable housing and expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income Loveland residents. 

“The Community Partnership Office works with our nonprofit community that serves a good portion of our lower income Loveland residents,” Hade said. 

The grants are in two primary areas, that of human services for food, rent and childcare assistance, and brick and mortar for single-family and multi-family housing projects, both new and rehabilitation; those grants come from federal funds and are issued through the city. Additional brick-and-mortar grant funding supports public facilities, such as the Alternatives to Violence SafeHouse and the House of Neighborly Service’s Loveland Life Center.

The CPO issues an average of $525,000 in service grants each year and another $270,000 in brick-and-mortar grants. The office also supports new affordable housing and large housing rehabilitation projects by waiving permit and development fees. Over the past four years, the Loveland City Council waived $3.4 million in fees for 317 single-family and multi-family housing units. 

“Alison … is an important partner for the Loveland Housing Authority and other developers/operators of affordable housing in Loveland. She enables the development of affordable housing by advocating for policy changes, providing funding through the administration of the Affordable Housing Fund and the Community Development Block Grant program, and overseeing the Affordable Housing Commission,” said Jeff Feneis, executive director of the Loveland Housing Authority. “As the result of her leadership and diligent efforts, Alison has made a positive difference in the lives of countless Loveland residents by diligently working to address affordable housing and homelessness issues.”

Loveland is part of the region’s Northern Colorado Continuum of Care, a HUD program that provides funding to nonprofits and state and local governments to shelter and rehouse homeless individuals and families in an effort to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring. The Continuum of Care for Northern Colorado covers Larimer and Weld counties. 

“This creates a community-wide system rather than agencies working alone. What this does is it adds other nonprofits to the continuum so they have more resources,” Hade said. “The whole idea behind this is we’re coordinating and working together as opposed to individual agencies working alone.”

Starting in 2016, more than 40 member organizations of the Continuum of Care began working with different populations to help them get into and keep their housing. That year, the effort was with veterans — 507 were housed with 46 more to go. In 2017, 432 individuals (or non-veterans) were placed into housing and 520 still needed it. A year later, the continuum housed 384 families with 75 families still to house. Youth was added in 2019, when 20 received housing and 21 still needed it.

“Overall, it’s improved dramatically through the Continuum of Care work because people are working together as opposed to alone,” Hade said. “Every community needs a continuum of services from street outreach to the appropriate type of housing, which is either a few months of rent support to get somebody back on their feet or housing with intensive services for people who suffer from chronic and persistent mental health and substance use issues.”

Each year since 2013, the CPO conducts a point-in-time homeless count, required by HUD to count the number of people who are sheltered and unsheltered on a single night in late January. The sheltered count is required every year and the unsheltered every other year. The last full count was in 2019, when 51 people were counted sheltered and 91 outside — because of COVID, the full count was postponed by a year to Jan. 25.

“It isn’t designed to give a full count of homelessness. It’s designed to be conducted the same way each time so we can see trends,” Hade said. “We’ve definitely seen more people, but I don’t do outreach, so I don’t know the reason why. … We know that people have had a lot of mental health challenges over the past couple of years, which can contribute to homelessness as well.”

Hade estimates that between 125 and 150 people are living outside, a number that has consistently increased in the past 10 years. One contributing factor is the city’s population growth, coupled with the rise in the cost of housing, she said.

The CPO assists the homeless and those with low incomes in other ways, such as the annual Loveland Connect event that offers a range of services in a one-stop shop. The event was offered up until 2019 but may be discontinued in future years due to COVID. 

This year, the CPO began providing an overnight shelter for homeless residents to escape the cold that is available every night from November to March. House of Neighborly Service used to operate the 137 Homeless Connection as a day shelter and inclement weather shelter but now it is only operating the day shelter. The CPO operates the night shelter at the day center site instead of rotating among churches, as originally set up, though the hope is to do so in the future, Hade said.

“Every community needs to have a shelter option,” Hade said.

Hade oversees the CPO’s grant processes, affordable housing projects and the point-in-time count. A full-time and a part-time staff member help her with the federal grants and four with overseeing the winter shelter operation. 

“I love it. I love that it fulfills a need in the community that’s tangible,” Hade said. “I get to work with some amazing community partners who are doing incredible work to end homelessness.”

Hade, an advocate for the community’s homeless, cares deeply about others and believes that everyone deserves equality, said Sandra Wright, Loveland homeless systems manager for Homeward Alliance, which is based in Fort Collins but also serves Loveland.

“Alison has facilitated a lot of different conversations but kept that conversation moving in a way that we are seeing the progress that we’re having today,” Wright said. “She’s a great listener, learning from all sides represented in conversations and being able to come up with meaningful solutions for the people she’s trying to help.”

Hade, who was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Reed College in Portland, Ore., and her MBA from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She moved to Fort Collins in 2000 and from 2003 to 2011 worked for Alternatives to Violence in Loveland, first as the executive director, then as the development director.

“I was raised to want to do work that helps people,” Hade said, explaining that her mother served as head of complaints for the state of Utah’s welfare department. “She always talked about how people need food and housing in order to do anything in life. When I had the opportunity to work for nonprofits, I jumped on it.”

As the manager of Loveland’s Community Partnership Office, Alison Hade gets to see visible results from her work, though most are not immediate.

Sometimes, it’s the year-to-year statistics that demonstrate the impact Hade and the office have on Loveland’s nonprofits and the city’s homeless population. Sometimes, it’s a new program that comes into play, like the point-in-time homeless count. And sometimes, it’s a program change, such as the expansion of an inclement weather shelter into an overnight winter shelter.

“This type of work is incredibly rewarding,” Hade said “You get to see people’s lives change, and that’s an incredible outcome any…

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