DENVER (KDVR) — Denver leaders on Thursday announced plans to convert a downtown hotel into homeless housing that could support more than 240 people a year.
The Stay Inn, located just southwest of Interstate 70 and Peoria Street, would be converted into a shelter and ultimately into supportive housing with services on site.
“We know what works to stabilize our residents. We know housing first works. We know for many of those experiencing homelessness, housing plus services works even better,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a press conference.
Hancock and other city leaders and advocates announced the plan with U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver), who submitted a $2 million federal funding request to help acquire the property.
Research shows that when people experiencing homelessness are moved into hotels, “they experience improvements in both their physical and mental health,” DeGette said. “They’re also more likely to move into permanent housing” compared to people in transitional housing units.
The full project would cost about $7.8 million and is planned to be in use by the end of the year, said Britta Fisher, executive director of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability.
“This is what is really great about using motels and hotels is that the infrastructure is here,” Fisher said. “It really is about us coming in and getting the providers in to provide the services and help support people who have been experiencing homelessness, get them stabilized and get them restored to housing.”
In addition to the $2 million federal funding request, money would come from about $4.6 million in Community Development Block Grant funding, state dollars and money from the Denver sales tax that voters approved in 2020 to help fund homelessness solutions, Fisher said.
In a list of funding requests submitted to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee last week, DeGette also requested $10 million toward reconstruction the Urban Peak shelter for homeless youth and $2 million for a Colorado Coalition for the Homeless project to provide housing for homeless people with severe medical conditions.
You can watch the full announcement in the player above.