DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver City Council approved a $7.5 million contract amendment with Colorado Village Collaborative to operate through 2024.
Most of the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan. The managed campsites offer shelter and support to people experiencing homelessness.
One of the sites is located at 221 N. Federal Blvd. It is on a block full of businesses and there are homes on the block behind it. The site can house up to 60 people.
Raven Shimin has lived at that site since summer. She is now moving into an apartment and says the services there really helped her.
“I’m picking up my keys today and I’m excited,” Shimin said.
The SOS sites are staffed 24/7. They provide access to bathrooms and showers. There are case management services, plus housing and job search assistance.
“Everything here has been perfect for anyone who is really trying to help themselves get back into housing,” Shimin said.
Angie Nelson is the Deputy Director of Housing Stability and Homelessness Resolution for the City of Denver Department of Housing Stability.
“We’re ecstatic that we are able to get the approval,” Nelson said. “This is not just a place to camp. It’s a place to connect to services and support and a pathway off of the street.”
The funding, she said, will help expand services. “Either adding spaces to existing SOS sites, or as they search for new properties and find additional places, to be able to serve more people.”
While she is excited, others are cautious. A fire at a former SOS site on 8th Avenue and Elati in September sparked great concerns for neighbors, as did other activities. Neighbors expressed concerns about crime and drugs. That site is no longer active.
As the program gets more funding, one resident said he just hopes the city works hard to find appropriate places for the sites.
In the last few years, these sites have operated temporarily at eight different locations. City leaders said almost 500 people have received care and 170 have found more permanent housing.