By Jeff Todd

NORTHGLENN, Colo. (CBS4) – With an abandoned building awaiting a new purpose, the City of Northglenn wasted little time to convert its old recreation center into a winter housing facility for people experiencing homelessness.

(credit: CBS)

“We don’t have the resources that a big city like Denver does to deal with an issue like people without homes,” said Dr. Katherine Goff, a Northglenn City Council member.

“It just was a perfect time to make better use of this empty facility,” said Dr. Goff.

The idea came together quickly and was approved by the city council on Monday night. The operation should be up and running by the end of the month but is slated to only run until March. Concerns have been raised lately by residents as the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased. Dr. Goff says the crisis is noticeable in the city’s parks.

(credit: CBS)

“We’ve had lots of complaints and concerns about that. I mean, there are safety issues for our residents, there are safety issues for the person experiencing homelessness,” said Dr. Goff.

The city’s Crisis Response Unit brought forward the idea. It’s a growing team within the city that is addressing homelessness through outreach and partnerships. The rec center program will be run with help from Adams County and the Denver Rescue Mission.

“It is not a place that someone could walk up to the door and ask to spend the night. That is not our goal here,” Dr. Goff said.

The hope is this program can help people find permanent housing quickly.

“What we’re looking for is someone who is maybe recently homeless and is trying desperately to get out of that situation. And they’re highly motivated. They have a place to go during the day, for example, job, school, training program, things like that; so, when the doors closed here in the morning, they have a place to go. This is offering them shelter for the night,” Dr. Goff said.

Jeff Todd