Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Denver’s second micro-community for homeless people is ready to open in a southern neighborhood

Denver’s homelessness initiative on Tuesday will move more than 45 people living in an encampment near Empower Field into a new micro-community, marking the program’s first big milestone in 2024.

Mayor Mike Johnston and other city leaders gathered at the site in south Denver’s Overland neighborhood on Monday morning to celebrate the completion of the long-in-the-works project, which has faced local opposition. Nestled between an alley and the 2300 block of South Santa Fe Drive, the new community includes 60 tiny homes and two community buildings on a sliver of formerly vacant land owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Johnston’s “House 1,000” homeless initiative — recently renamed “All In Mile High” — has moved 1,293 people out of unsheltered homelessness and into at least temporary shelter since he took office last July.

Converted hotels have served as the backbone of the work.  But dating to his mayoral campaign, a key part of Johnston’s vision has been micro-communities — with tiny homes and on-site case management, workforce training and other services. Just one has opened so far, occupying the parking lot of a northeast Denver hotel that is being renovated to serve as long-term supportive housing.

The plan for the Overland site faced staunch protests from Overland residents and a successful zoning appeal that forced the city to refile its paperwork to launch the temporary community.

But now the city is ready to stand up its second micro-community.

A third, a community of 44 units located at 1375 N. Elati St. in the Golden Triangle neighborhood, is set to open next week, according to Cole Chandler, Johnston’s top homelessness adviser.

The mayor used Monday’s unveiling of the South Sante Fe site to highlight the initiative’s new name. Johnston said he views the work not as a short-term project but as an ongoing, permanent city effort.

“We call it ‘All In’ because the goal is quite literally to get all of our Denver residents inside,” Johnston said. “We call this ‘All In’ because we want the entire city to be all in. The government will not alone solve this; our nonprofit partners will not alone solve this. We’ll need faith leaders from around the city. We’ll need business leaders. We’ll need nonprofits and individuals who are willing to step up and engage in just the way that they have.”

The South Sante Fe Community will be managed by the Colorado Village Collaborative, the nonprofit that pioneered the micro-community concept in Denver; it formerly was run by Chandler. The organization hired 15 staffers to oversee the new community, according to CEO Dede de Percin, at least two of whom will be on-site at all times.

Johnston on Monday talked about hopes of eventually expanding the site to 120 units, after the number was cut in half to address neighborhood concerns.

But Randy Cain, who stood outside the new perimeter fence Monday, is among neighbors who remain wary. His home backs up to the alley across from the new community. Fears in the community include rising crime and an increase in public drug use.

“I know there will be some good eggs. I know it is going to help some people,” Cain said. “But the people who have no accountability are going to outweigh it.”

Stay up-to-date with Colorado Politics by signing up for our weekly newsletter, The Spot.

Popular Articles