Denver Police and Denver Human Services Key Partners in Effort
Together with Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Troy Riggs, Executive Director of Public Safety and Christine Benero, President and CEO of Mile High United Way, announced a web-based community resource map that allows users to easily search for location-based resources. Don Mares, Executive Director of Denver Human Services (DHS) and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen talked about how their teams are going to be using the tool.
“Our neighborhoods and communities are strengthened when residents trust the people serving them and that trust is enhanced when our city officials take an equity-focused approach to supporting those in our community who are struggling,” Mayor Hancock said. “This new tool will help our safety officials and outreach workers get people the support they need through a compassionate approach to our interactions with them.”
Nicknamed CARMA (Community Asset and Resource Mapping Application), the community resource map is a part of Public Safety’s Denver Opportunity Index (DOI), a philosophical shift in public safety service delivery that is focused on addressing social issues facing Denver residents.
CARMA is a web-based tool that provides easily searchable information about free and discounted community resources available to Denver residents. Users of this tool can search for nearby resources such as urgent care facilities, mental health providers and food resources. The resources are linked to Mile High United Way’s 2-1-1 database and is updated regularly to ensure information is current.
“Mile High United Way 2-1-1 Help Center’s goal has always been to help our community navigate and get connected to critical resources,” said Christine Benero, President and CEO of Mile High United Way. “We are grateful to the City and County of Denver and Public Safety for elevating our work, the resources available and helping educate our community on how they can get connected to the support they need.”
DPD’s Citywide Impact Team has been piloting CARMA since August and saw firsthand how useful the tool was when one of their contact officers was flagged down by a distraught gentleman. He was experiencing fits of crying and was asking for help finding someone to talk to. The officer accessed CARMA on his phone and was able to find a counseling service accepting new clients less than 100 yards away from where they were. The officer was able to help the man secure a same day appointment.
“This tool provides real time information to help someone connect to resources in the moment,” said Public Safety Executive Director Troy Riggs. “Many of our public safety staff see firsthand the struggles facing our residents and having this information immediately available can be a game changer.”
In addition to the Citywide Impact Team, DPD’s Homeless Outreach Team and Denver Human Services outreach workers will also be using CARMA in the near future.
“Denver Human Services’ mission is to partner with our community to protect those in harm’s way and help all people in need,” said DHS Executive Director Don Mares. “This map enhances existing partnerships by enabling our outreach teams to connect clients to resources even more quickly and accurately, supporting our vision of a healthy and connected community.”
Mile High United Way’s 2-1-1 Help Center is a statewide resource that serves over 100,000 individuals annually in navigating their needs, including: food, shelter, rent assistance, utility assistance, and more. They connect with hundreds of local community resources each month to ensure the 2-1-1 Colorado database remains the most up-to-date guide on community resources in Colorado. If you or someone you know needs help, dial 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898-211, or visit us online at 211Colorado.org.
Public Safety is making CARMA available to everyone in the Denver community. Find it on the Public Safety website at www.denvergov.org/communityresourcemap.
View media coverage:
Channel 7: City of Denver and United Way Create Way to Find Assistance
Denverite: Denver’s Public Safety Department made a map and it’s not about crime
CBS4: Find the Help You Need with Community Asset Resource Map App