Denver might sell bonds to investors to raise money for a program to serve about 250 chronically homeless people. 

The investors would earn a return if the program lowers the city’s costs by keeping those folks out of the criminal justice system.

"We only repay the investors if we actually see those savings," Cary Kennedy, Denver’s chief financial officer, told a City Council committee on Tuesday. "The risk of the program being effective or not being effective is really transferred to the investor."

The committee approved a five-year contract for the social impact bonds program on Tuesday. They also approved a contractor with the Urban Institute to evaluate the project. It now needs approval by the City Council.