Backers of Denver's mental-health tax measure say they'll file plenty of signatures

Andrew Romanoff, then president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, and state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denve announce the Caring 4 Denver initiative outside the Colorado Capitol in 2018.

The Caring for Denver Foundation handed out $565,000 in grants Tuesday to help front-line responders during the COVID-19 crisis to quickly respond to emerging mental health needs and substance misuse issues as the crisis bears down.

"These are difficult times for us all, especially those on the frontlines, as we combat the spread of coronavirus across our city and state," said state Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Denver who chairs the foundation board. "As we navigate these uncharted waters, I am proud to work with Caring for Denver to bolster social supports for our healthcare workers and the mental health programs available to them.” 

Those receiving grants include Servicios de la Raza, The Harm Reduction Center, The Center for Trauma and Resiliency, Life-Line Colorado, Element of Discovery - Therapists of Color, Tribe Recovery Homes, Sobriety House, The Center, The Empowerment Program, The Rose Andom Center, Friends of the Haven and CHARG Resource Center.

The grants also extend to "critically at-risk homeless populations," with aid to The Gathering Place, Urban Peak, Denver Rescue Mission, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Volunteers of America, The Salvation Army, The Delores Project, Catholic Charities and the St. Francis Center.

Caring for Denver Foundation was created and gets funding from Denver voters, who in 2018 passed a sales tax of 25 cents on every $100 of purchases to raise money for mental health and substance misuse programs. The foundation is charged with distributing at least $35 million a year.

"We want to ensure that providers are equipped to meet the rapidly changing needs of the communities they’re serving during this crisis. And as we've continually done, we'll listen to the community and adjust our actions to address needs as this situation changes, " executive director Lorez Meinhold said in a statement.

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