AURORA, Colo. — A small community of shelters at the Salvation Army in Aurora will provide alternative housing to 30-60 people experiencing homelessness this winter and into next year, according to the City of Aurora.
Thirty pallet shelters were installed Wednesday at the non-profit located at 11701 E. 33rd Ave. Each pallet shelter can sleep up to two people. They're connected to electricity to power heat and air conditioning and are designed with ample storage space.
RELATED: Regis University will be site of Denver's newest sanctioned campsite for people experiencing homelessness
Following feedback from community members at an alternative shelter open house in May, the Aurora City Council approved the Pallet shelter option at its September budget workshop.
> Video above: Metro-wide efforts to end homelessness.
Aurora is the first city in the metro area to adopt this shelter option and the second one in the state.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and federal Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) dollars funded the project, costing the city approximately $290,000.
“Everyone deserves a safe, warm place to sleep,” said Jessica Prosser, director of Aurora’s Housing and Community Services Department. “With the winter ahead, we remain committed to assisting those without shelter with emergency alternative shelter options, like Pallet shelters, to help get them back on their feet and regain stability.”
The Pallet shelters serve as temporary places to stay while residents work with The Salvation Army with services such as case management, medical and workforce support, meals and showers to get back on their feet and obtain permanent and stable housing.
“We are thrilled to have the Pallet shelter set up at our Aurora facility,” said Kristen Baluyot, director of Denver Metro Social Services with The Salvation Army.
“The Pallet shelters provide a space for people to get their bearings with dignity. Once people are reminded of their worth and dignity, they tend to strive for a more permanent situation. We are optimistic about the future of the safe outdoor spaces and hope we can continue to serve the Aurora community.”
Research from the 2021 Point-in-Time (PIT) Report shows a steady increase in people experiencing homelessness in Aurora.
The report indicates close to 600 individuals sought emergency shelter due to experiencing homelessness in Aurora, with only 150 emergency shelter beds available in the city. These numbers show a significant gap, not only for emergency shelter options but also for those who may not fit into a traditional sheltering model.
In addition to the Pallet shelters, safe outdoor spaces, and existing shelters like the Comitis Crisis Center, the Aurora Day Resource Center at 13387 E. 19th Pl. will also be activated as an emergency cold weather shelter.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Latest from 9NEWS