Denver’s first sanctioned homeless camp opens

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DENVER (KDVR) — Denver’s first sanctioned homeless camp was opened Tuesday as part of an effort to help an increased number of homeless individuals sheltering outside during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The first sanctioned outdoor space is set up in the parking lot of First Baptist Church. It will house 30 women and transgender individuals.

The site will feature onsite staff at all times, rules and guidelines, daily COVID-19 screenings and direct access to housing assistance services and mental health resources.

A temporary zoning permit for the second Safe Outdoor Space was issued for Denver Community Church at 1543 and 1595 N. Pearl St. The second sanctioned outdoor space set to open later in December will house 40 people. Men, women, couples and pets will be welcome at the second location.

The Safe Outdoor Spaces are a collaboration between Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Radian Inc., Colorado Village Collaborative, Earthlinks and other groups.

Organizers said the sanctioned outdoor spaces are critical as an increasing number of homeless individuals seek shelter outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sites are temporary and scheduled to wind down in late May.

Homeless sweeps continue through the Denver metro area and shelters are filling to capacity. Solutions are being explored as the homeless population continues to increase.

Organizers hope connecting unhoused people with resources at the sanctioned outdoor space sites will help them on the path to finding permanent housing.

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