AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – In a unanimous vote on Monday night, the Aurora City Council approved funding for an outdoor shelter pilot program for people experiencing homelessness. The three month program will explore the feasibility of running a permanent safe camping site.
The Salvation Army will host the pilot program at its location on East 33rd Avenue in Aurora. Council members voted to allocate $245,693 in federal CARES Grant funding to set up and operate the site for 90 days.
City officials say the pilot program is a priority due to limited sheltering options in Aurora. The city’s 2020 point in time count identified 427 people experiencing homelessness but only 150 available shelter beds. Last year, the city received 892 requests for homeless services, which includes people living in RVs or encampments.
“By incorporating a safe outdoor space pilot into the community of Aurora, we are providing organized, alternative sheltering solutions that connect individuals to safe places to be, where they have access to portlets, handwashing stations, garbage disposal, food the appropriate level of services (housing, medical, case management, clinical services, etc.) needed to move out of homelessness,” stated Lana Dalton, Homelessness Programs Manager for the City of Aurora.
At the end of the 90 day pilot, the city council plans to discuss the progress, including the potential for a permanent site.