DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Mayor Mike Johnston said the city is scrapping plans to create a micro-community near Yale Avenue and Interstate 25.
The proposal was one of 11 potential sites the mayor’s office had selected for short-term housing for those experiencing homelessness. Johnston’s office sent a letter to people in surrounding neighborhoods Thursday to inform them of the decision.
“The city spent a lot of time talking to us, mostly hearing rather than responding to our concerns,” Alec Baker said. “This is a response to our concerns, and I think at this point, we feel pretty well heard.”
Baker and dozens of others flooded recent town halls, sharing concerns about the proposed site.
Baker said it’s far removed from places where people could get food or find work and is nearly surrounded by residential neighborhoods.
“We were really kind of taken aback, because the stated criteria for selecting sites weren’t met by the site on our street,” he said. “It really made us concerned that it would make the whole area more dangerous for us, but also for the people they would have living there.”
Mayor Johnston on homeless micro-community site
Johnston’s office explained the decision in more detail in a letter sent to neighbors:
I want to thank all the residents of District 4 who have engaged in goodwill and the ongoing conversation about 5500 E. Yale Ave. As we said when we started the outreach process, we listed these sites publicly so we can do two types of vetting. One was specific vetting on the site and the logistics of that site preparation, and the second was broader feedback from the neighbors in the community about their thoughts on the site.
After deep conversation on both of those variables, we have decided to not move forward with the micro-community at 5500 E. Yale Ave. based on a combination of logistical and operational challenges, as well as community feedback.
What I’ve appreciated the most about these conversations is the spirit in which the residents have entered. Everyone has shown up and both said they recognize the state of emergency, they want to see the problem solved AND more importantly, they want District 4 to be a part of that solution. I am especially grateful for all the alternative sites that people have helped us identify throughout District 4 and the criteria they contributed to our long-term process.
People would like to see us find sites closer to commercial areas, that are closer to general services and have access to public transit. We are continuing to pursue the sites that many neighbors have helped us identify. We are also working on additional sites in District 4 that meet the criteria and the feedback we received from the community, and we look forward to working together with you to help all of our unhoused neighbors get access to housing and support services that will help them get back on their feet and reintegrated into society.
Thank you so much for your support. I look forward to working together on the road ahead.Denver Mayor Mike Johnston
Johnston’s administration recently made a similar decision to nix another proposed site at 1151 N. Bannock St. Two other sites — at 1375 N. Elati St. and 2301 S. Santa Fe Dr. — are moving forward.