Mayor Mike Johnston provided an update on the City and County of Denver’s efforts to bring 1,000 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness indoors by the end of the year.
While the city is working to build the housing people need, proactive outreach to individuals living in encampments is working to connect those people to services. In the past two weeks, city outreach teams have helped connect more than 26 individuals to services, including connecting an individual to permanent, stable housing for the first time in his adult life, as well as helping a pregnant woman move from a tent to a hotel unit.
Most of these positive outcomes came from encampments where the city offered services like trash collection, health services outreach, and portalet access – showing that access to dignified services supports positive outcomes for unhoused Denverites.
The city has put several strategies into action, including launching a pilot program to provide portalet access and trash services at several encampment locations around the city. The city is working with community partners, advocates, and the persons living in encampments to keep the portalets clean and safe. This is an important first step to provide the sanitation and support services as the city works to source permanent supportive housing.
The city also closed last week on the Stay Inn in Northeast Denver at 38th Ave. and Peoria St. This property will bring nearly 100 units online to help deliver on our goal.
Finally, the city released a Request for Proposals seeking partners to provide site management and wraparound services for micro-communities. Through this effort, the city aims to partner with a wide variety of providers, including local organizations who have been doing this type of work in Denver for years.
Mayor Johnston Continues to Build Team of Vibrant Leaders to Serve Denver
Mayor Mike Johnston has appointed three new members of his senior leadership team. Esther Lee Leach will serve as Senior Advisor for Community Partnerships, acting as a liaison between the Mayor’s Office and key business, arts, non-profit, political, and cultural stakeholders, as well as overseeing Denver’s Boards and Commissions. Angela Casias will join the team as Legislative Director, managing all aspects of the legislative process, including City Council engagement and collaboration with city officials and department heads to ensure successful implementation of the mayor’s key initiatives. Adam Burg will serve as Federal and State Affairs Director and will advocate for policies and resources that benefit the City and County of Denver, strengthening the City’s partnerships with leaders at the state and federal levels of government.
“These three individuals bring so much to the table to support our legislative and community efforts,” Mayor Mike Johnston said. “Adam, Angela and Esther will hit the ground running as they arrive at our office equipped with the strong relationships they’ve built throughout Denver.”
Esther Lee Leach is currently the Vice President of Development & Fundraising at the
Downtown Denver Partnership where she leads their corporate sponsor program, membership department and fundraising efforts. Leach leads the Partnership’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility committee. Previously, she served as Director of Membership Development, Events & Partnerships at Clayton Hotel & Members Club. Leach was recently appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve as a Commissioner on the Colorado Economic Development Commission.
She is a board member of Biennial of the Americas, Cherry Arts and the Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce. She was awarded the Gervasini Community Leader of the Year Award for Cherry Creek by the Chamber of Commerce in 2022. Leach also serves on the 5280 Air Society supporting the fundraising efforts of National Jewish Health, is the co-chair of the Design Track at Denver Startup Week and a Member of the Community Building Council at CiviCO. Leach grew up on the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia and has now settled in Denver after living in San Francisco, New York and London.
Angela Casias’ breadth of experience spans over 30 years working for cities and non-
profit organizations. In her current role, she serves as Senior Vice President of Community and Government Partnerships for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver where she leads Federal, State and Municipal advocacy for affordable home ownership and manages Habitat’s government grants division which brings in over $4 million annually. Casias spent 18 years working for the City & County of Denver, including legislative roles in three of the largest departments, Denver Parks & Recreation, Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure, and Denver International Airport.
Throughout her career, she has fostered relationships with Denver City Council members and delivered policy and strategy recommendations to elevate departments, initiatives and programs. Casias was born and raised in Denver and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Adam Burg currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce where he oversees the Chamber’s policy team.
His experience also includes his role as the Legislative and Government Affairs Senior Advisor for Adams County, one of the largest counties in Colorado, where he managed the county’s government affairs and legislative programs. Burg has also worked on numerous campaigns across the state of Colorado. Burg is a Colorado local and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Denver.