Hancock: Denver opening roomier shelter, hotel rooms for homeless

Coronavirus

DENVER (AP) — Denver is opening a large, temporary homeless shelter and making about 300 hotel rooms available to homeless people who need to be isolated because of the coronavirus.

Mayor Michael Hancock said Tuesday the moves are essential to protecting the community.

About 250 members of the National Guard are taking over staffing at the city’s existing homeless shelters.

Hancock said that will allow the city to open an additional shelter for 600 men at the National Western Complex, with about 50 square feet for every person staying there. It will also make it easier for people staying at the other shelters to practice social distancing.

On Monday, Hancock sent an open letter to Denver hotels and motels asking for 3,300 hotel rooms “to meet the anticipated need among people experiencing homelessness and the needs of our local hospitals in the weeks ahead.”

He also said the Colorado Convention Center downtown will be converted into a 2,000-bed field hospital for COVID-19 patients.

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