DENVER -- One of the major challenges in dealing with Denver's homeless population is keeping them out of the criminal justice system. A new city program aims to do that by providing legal help.
It's called Denver Outreach Court, a new initiative to hold court at the Denver Rescue Mission, specifically for issues that the homeless population have to deal with.
The goal is to provide better access to the court system, in an effort to avoid further involvement with the criminal justice system.
The Denver Outreach Court will help with tickets or warrants, but also provide mental health assistance when needed or enrollment in Medicaid.
"Diversion from the penal system is one of a number of strategies we are employing to address the barriers people experiencing homelessness are facing and tackle them head on with new solutions,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a news release.
Denver has tried a version of homeless court in the past. In 2005, a homeless court tried to help with similar issues. According to the Denver Post, over two years that court saw only 46 cases and only about half of those users actually paid fines or did what the court ordered.