DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is asking each city council member to submit one potential site in their districts to support a temporary COVID-based campsite. The Safe Outdoor Space concept was proposed last week.
Each site will provide nearly 50 homeless individuals with showers, laundry, hand washing stations and access to essential mental health and substance resources.
Agencies involved said the CDC has encouraged homeless sweeps to be put on hold during COVID-19. However the growing camps pose both health and safety threats to those living in them and around them.
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding encampments with those experiencing homelessness, most recently the camp in front of Morey Middle School at 13th and Clarkson in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Hancock sent the members of the Denver City Council the letter on Wednesday. In it, he asks each city council member to “identify at least one potential site in your district to support a temporary COVID-based temporary campsite. Ideally, we are looking for properties in the 10,000-square-foot range – enough for 60 people, 50 socially distant tents, restroom and shower facilities, and a common area. The campsite would be operational as long as public health orders and the pandemic are in place.”
During the news conference last week, Hancock said the city will continue outreach and enforcement of the urban camping ban, while trying to encourage those seeking shelter to use motel rooms or the sanctioned camp sites once they are open.