DENVER (KDVR) — Denver’s homeless population currently residing in their personal vehicles will have additional safe places to park through the Colorado Safe Parking Initiative.

Denver’s Department of Housing Stability awarded a $150,000 contract to utilize the parking initiative and establish locations for persons experiencing homelessness living in their vehicles.

The CSPI focuses on taking away the stigma of people experiencing homelessness and offers those in need a safe haven while they’re getting through tough times.

The funds will go toward supporting a minimum of two safe parking sites in Denver with eight parking spaces at each location. Faith communities and others will provide 12 safe parking sites throughout the Front Range, the Denver Department of Housing Stability said.

The first site in the city is in southeast Denver, which will be funded under this contract. The second Denver location has not been decided.

“While unsheltered homelessness has risen in Denver, so is our dedication to providing shelter alternatives to assist individuals with achieving greater stability that ultimately leads toward housing,” Denver’s Department of Housing Stability Executive Director Britta Fisher said. “This is a modest step in the evolution of Denver’s support system for our unhoused neighbors. We hope to see greater capacity among community partners to grow this model in the future.”

Other parking initiative locations

A new CSPI location at a Lakewood church opened up in mid-June. The church is well known for a community garden on the back of its property, where people in need can collect produce. 

Two weeks after the area was opened, the church was vandalized by someone who threw a rock through the window.

The United Methodist Church said that since the start of June, they’ve had at least four incidents involving people attempting to break into the church or church vehicles.

According to the CSPI site, there are safe sites in Arvada, Aurora, Broomfield and Golden aside from the southeast Denver location and new Lakewood location.

The parking initiative is mainly working with recently homeless people to provide legal overnight parking with restroom access (portable toilets, handwashing stations) and drinking water. Other services include housing search and placement, employment development and placement, benefits acquisition, and referrals to health, substance misuse, and mental health care.