DENVER (KDVR) — In August, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston announced a preliminary list of 11 potential sites for short-term housing for those experiencing homelessness.
According to the mayor, these locations are publicly and privately owned or are owned by the city, the Colorado Department of Transportation, or the Department of Housing.
The sites will be evaluated and vetted over the next couple of weeks before they are opened, with a goal to get 1,000 unhoused people inside by the end of the year.
However, not everyone is on board with the locations. Neighbors living near 5500 E Yale Ave. in District 4 worry about safety and the impact this could have on their neighborhood.
“I know we need housing for these people, I know we need support,” said neighbor Janet Cornell. “My brother was homeless, so I understand the plight these people face and we’re not trying to say they don’t need a solution, we’re just trying to say this is not the solution.”
The proposed site off Yale Avenue borders several yards and is the location for several bus stops, according to residents.
“We just think this is the wrong neighborhood. We have bus stops within feet of here, we have a church within 700 feet that is a school, we have a new private school going in, [Mayor Johnston] is not addressing our concerns that this is not a safe site,” Janet said.
A spokesperson for the mayor provided the following statement to FOX31:
Studies and data show positive results of Denver’s tiny home communities without increases in crime, residents feel safe and undisturbed, and most of those served move into long-term housing. Specifically, crime has not increased. A study by the University of Denver’s Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness found that crime surrounding one of Colorado Village Collaborative’s tiny home villages did NOT increase after the village was established. Additionally, calls to police are dramatically less frequent for tiny home villages and supervised micro-communities compared to calls about encampments.”
A portion of the neighborhood near 5500 Yale Ave. is in unincorporated Arapahoe County, so residents don’t feel like they’ve had a say in the decision.
“Denver is now infringing on our rights and we had no say whatsoever,” said Larry Cornell, who lives down the street from the proposed site but lives in Arapahoe County.
“We didn’t get a chance to vote for the city and county, the mayor of Denver, we didn’t get that option because we’re unincorporated and now we don’t feel like our voices are being heard,” Janet said.
The next town hall meeting to give feedback will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. at Denver Dumb Friends League.