DENVER — On the same day of the second homeless encampment sweep under his administration, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston in his weekly press conference announced a list of 11 preliminary sites across the metro area that would serve as locations for converted hotels and micro-communities under his plan to house 1,000 people by the end of the year.
The list includes sites across all 11 Denver city council districts and does not include others that the mayor said are currently in the process of negotiations with private landowners.
The 11 sites also include the two hotel locations already announced as part of his plan.
The sites include publicly-owned city land and property owned by CDOT, Denver’s Housing Authority and Denver Health, the mayor said.
“With the release of these sites in addition to the leased units we are looking at and the hotels we are working on we believe we now have a path to deliver a thousand units of housing that will help meet the goal to get a thousand people off the streets and into housing,” the mayor said. “These represent all regions of the city, the represent an initial list but are not a complete and final list.”
The list of sites includes:
- 1498 N. Irving St. for a micro-community
- 5500 E. Yale Ave. for a micro-community
- 1380 S. Birch St. for a micro-community
- 950 W. Alameda Ave. for a micro-community
- 2301 S. Santa Fe Dr. for a micro-community
- 4595 N. Quebec St. for hotel
- 12033 E. 38th. Ave. for a hotel and micro-community combo
- 3700 Galapago St. for a micro-community
- 1199 N. Bannock St. for a micro-community
- 1375 N. Elati St. for a micro-community
- 5000 Tower Rd. for a micro-community
Last week, the mayor’s office announced his team was going public, requesting proposals from nonprofit organizations and community partners to support his plan to build micro-communities.
He said the approach was directed at smaller, community-based nonprofits in the Denver metro area with the intention of supporting micro-communities that share a similar need for services, such as veterans, women and the transgender community, among others.
Part of Johnston’s plan to address homelessness includes building communities of tiny homes each 70 or 120 sq. ft. in size.
The70 sq. ft. units can fit up to two people. The120 sq. ft. units can fit up to four people.
His office is asking Denver’s city council to approve a contract with Pallet, which is described as a social purpose company to build those tiny homes.
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The proposed contract is for $7 million to establish 200 tiny homes.“This means we have access to sites. We have access to the construction pipeline of homes that will need,” the mayor said. “will continue now the community engagement process to help land these sites and these units to prepare to get people moved off of the streets and into housing.”
On Thursday, Johnston also addressed the second homeless encampment sweep under his administration. The site near 17tth and Logan streets, which Johnston visited Wednesday, was scheduled for a sweep after two incidents of gun violence near the location in which two people were shot.
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“We had some real concerns about safety for both the unhoused residents there and the housed neighbors there. We did have a gun incident there at the same encampment about a month ago. The chief and I evaluated it and at that point we believed we could keep the encampment safe because that person was not from that encampment,” the mayor said.
But after the second shooting incident a few nights ago, the mayor’s office decided to sweep the encampment.
“This underscores the urgency of why this strategy is so important. Right now where we look at the places where we have tiny home communities, we have safe outdoor spaces, we have dramatic reductions in police activity,” he said.
A homeless advocate told Denver7 anchor Micah Smith the sweep was re-traumatizing to encampment residents after the recent shooting.
“What we know from encampment residents who experienced it directly is that a woman was walking by and a man randomly came up with a mask on and started threatening her and saying something along the lines of, ‘Where are my keys?’ and then began shooting. And encampment residents were victims. They didn’t know who the shooter was… the suspect is not tied to the encampment in any way,” said V. Reeves, a homeless advocate for the Housekeys Action Network of Denver (HAND). “They described 18 bullets going off. And we had people who were victimized either personally by having a wound — a gunshot wound entry and exit in his back. And another person had $7,000 of damage on their vehicle, including shattered windows, which was parked right next to the tent. No news on whether there’s going to be any accountability for either of those victims.”
Mayor Johnston announces list of sites for tiny homes under his plan to address homelessness
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