DENVER (CBS4)– Last month, the Denver Coliseum was almost a done deal for the City of Denver’s first sanctioned camp site for the homeless. But after weeks of push back from the community, the Colorado Village Collaborative is left to find a new place to house the homeless.
The Colorado Village Collaborative is taking on the task of working with the City of Denver to find a secure site. The question now – where?
“We’re stuck in this horrible cycle,” said Cuica Montoya, safe outdoor space manager for Colorado Village Collaborative. She says, with more than 1,300 people already living on the streets of Denver, the time to find the city’s homeless population a place to live is now.
“We’re only going to see this crisis expand and grow exponentially,” Montoya told CBS4’s Andrea Flores. “We don’t even know what the mass eviction is going to look like throughout the country, and here locally. It’s coming.”
Last month, the Denver Coliseum was the front runner for the first sanctioned homeless camp site. But feedback from the community put that plan on hold.
“This community has been marginalized historically over and over again, but what that opportunity gave us was that pause button,” Montoya said.
Now, the Colorado Village Collaborative is working on forming a racial equity team that can provide a clear channel of communication between the collaborative and the community.
Back to the drawing board, an idea proposed by residents was now-empty sporting event parking lots. But Montoya says that option is unlikely.
“If you’re talking about getting a lease signed off from a national sporting association, it’s probably not going to happen,” said Montoya. “What we’re really looking for is a cooperative land owner.
The Colorado Village Collaborative is working through a new list of potential public and private spaces.
“We have to have an owner that’s willing to do a lease on a site,” Montoya said.
As the search continues, Montoya says another hurdle is getting communities on board as homeless sweeps around the city continue.
“It’s a hostile situation for all aspects, for community members, and the city, and the homeless,” Montoya said. “We need to find that gap from houseless to finding a home.”
CBS4 reached out to Denver City Council members to ask how they’re working to solve the issue of homelessness. They did not return out request for an interview.
As far as a timeline on a new site, Montoya says once they sign a lease, they hope to have the camp site up and running in two weeks.
Where that will be remains unknown, but she says it could happen by late August or early September at the earliest.