GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis met in Denver (4/15) to address homelessness across the state, “State investments alone will not solve the problem, local leaders in urban and suburban communities need to step up and address the issue,” Polis said.

Local organizations including Homewardbound and Roice-Hurst Humane Society are wasting no time addressing the situation, introducing a new service set to launch in two weeks, “We’re very excited about it because these pet shelters that are behind us are the first of their kind in the country,” Bill Wade, Homewardbound said.

Bill Wade, a board chairman of Homewardbound, says we often see homeless with animals, “Sometimes that’s the only companion that they have,” Wade said.

The Homewardbound shelter off North Avenue can now house both, “There are only nine of them that’s not nearly enough but it will certainly help us with seeing if this concept will work and then hopefully we can make it bigger,” Wade says.

The new animal shelter isn’t the only addition headed to Homewardbound, residents will soon be able to access a new living area with the security of a key card, “People will have their entry card to get in and out and much more security and control of their own environment,” Wade says.

Wade says when people have more security and freedom to roam it helps give the homeless dignity, “And the more dignity that they have the more likely they are to stay on the track of getting out of homelessness,” Wade said.

In 2021 in Grand Junction, the homeless count tallied to 279 in shelters and more than 300 on the streets… in comparison, Denver’s homeless population totals more than 5,000, “Coloradan’s are demanding action and its time to deliver,” Polis says, “We are long past finger pointing, its time to provide real results in reducing homelessness.”

Wade says in Grand Junction that’s already underway with the new shelter made possible because of a joint partnership between Homewardbound, Roice-Hurst Humane Society and Petsmart.

Homewardbound hopes taking people and their pets off the street and putting them on the road to a permanent home is the solution.