Homeless Support

 La Plata County’s Board of County Commissioners, as well as the county staff, law enforcement and legal professionals, stand behind our ongoing efforts to find workable solutions to mitigate the homeless crisis in Durango and the surrounding area.

As outlined in the 2020 Durango-La Plata County Strategic Plan on Homelessness, the impact of homelessness on the wider population is felt every day and it has only become more severe in the ensuing years. Un-managed camping at Purple Cliffs was halted on Friday, September 30 and evacuated effective October 3.  It became a de facto homeless camp when it was first occupied following the 416 Fire in 2018. While there have been numerous efforts and stated intentions to find an alternative to Purple Cliffs as four winters have since come and gone, we and the community can simply no longer tolerate unmanaged congregate camping.  

The County is going through the procurement process to hire a contractor to clean up the waste left behind by the campers at Purple Cliffs.  Clean-up will begin as soon as possible, but with the volume of trash left behind, and the fact that clean-up is weather dependent, it won't be completed until late summer 2023.  

As we have stated previously, to think homelessness can be “solved” is not a realistic goal; rather, responsible and effective management can lessen the negative impacts locally on both the unhoused population and the greater community at large. While the county will not be playing a leading role, we remain firmly committed to helping with the problem. As such, we will:

  • earmark $1,000,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funding to implementing a solution
  • continue to be an active member of the Coordinating Council on Homelessness
  • support use of the Joint Sales Tax for solutions
  • help get the unhoused connected to public benefits and services
  • remain at the table in any future collaborative discussions

We stand resolute to continue working to implement solutions as outlined in the Strategic Plan on Homelessness to help make homelessness a rare, brief and one-time occurrence. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to do our part as we and our partners work on behalf of all the residents of La Plata County.

For more information, please contact Ted Holteen, La Plata County Public & Governmental Affairs Manager, at (970) 382-6265 or email.