Cole Chandler, co-founder and executive director of Colorado Village Collaborative, has been hired as director of homelessness initiatives for the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).
CDHS is committed to using existing programs and benefits to prevent and reduce homelessness in Colorado. In Colorado, more than 9,000 people are experiencing homelessness, including families, individuals, veterans, and young adults. A recent study, State of Homelessness 2021, shows Colorado has the 11th highest rate of homelessness in America. This new position will focus on the prevention of homelessness, which includes connecting families and individuals to housing services and support.
Chandler spent the last five years as founder and executive director at Colorado Village Collaborative, which provides dignified alternative sheltering for more than 200 people coming from unsheltered homelessness per night through a network of tiny home villages and safe outdoor spaces throughout Denver. He grew the organization from one staff member and a $150,000 budget to more than 30 staff and a $5 million budget in five years. He began his work in homelessness at the Denver Catholic Worker House of Hospitality, living with people experiencing homelessness in Denver, where he focused on advocacy and office administration. His passion grew from there and included time at Beloved Community Mennonite Church, Hunger Free Colorado, and SAME (So All May Eat) Cafe.
Chandler looks forward to bringing his experiences and knowledge to CDHS and leveraging a broader level of impact: “More than 9,000 individuals are experiencing homelessness across Colorado on a nightly basis, but things don’t have to be this way. Through bold, innovative leadership within CDHS and across the State of Colorado, we can make mass homelessness history by doing our part to prevent homelessness before it begins and quickly resolving an individual’s episode of homelessness once it starts.”
Chandler begins his new duties on August 22 and will be a foundational member of the community partnerships and homelessness initiatives team. He received a Bachelor of Science in education from Baylor University and a master of divinity from George W. Truett Theological Seminary.