DENVER — U.S. Rep. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.) announced on Thursday she requested $2 million in federal funding to help the City and County Denver pay for the purchase of a hotel to house those who are experiencing homelessness.
Officials said funding will go towards the estimated $4.6 million needed to buy and renovate the 95-rooms at The Stay Inn Hotel located at 12033 East 38th Avenue. Nearly all of those rooms would be used to provide shelter, and there would also be community service centers in one room and inside the hotel.
Once completed, the hotel would be used as a shelter for about 24 months, and then converted into supportive house more for more than 150 local residents annually.
The Metro Denver Homeless Initiative estimated there were more then 4,000 people experiencing homeless in the Denver area in January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“This investment will enable us to help people in our community who have been hit hardest by the pandemic,” Mayor Michael Hancock (D-Denver) said. “Providing supportive housing means wrapping our residents in services, so they have the stability they need to get back on their feet and be a part of our economic recovery.”
DeGette requested the funding as one of then Community Project Funding Requests each member of Congress is allowed to submit this year to fund local projects in their district.
The House Appropriations Committee will make the finally decision on the funding request.
Denver's Safe Outdoor Spaces (SOS) program would have enough funding to operate two sites through the end of the year, instead of ending in the spring, under a contract approved by a city council committee in February.
SOS sites are temporary, managed campsites approved by the city that serve people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.
The Colorado Village Collaborative said in an email the contract would fund its SOS site at Denver Community Church at East 16th Avenue and Pearl Street and another one to be operated in partnership with the St. Francis Center.
But the Colorado Village Collaborative said it remains committed to winding down services at the Denver Community Church site on May 31 and will search for two new SOS sites to operate through the end of the year.
“There are a lot of challenges coordinating vaccines for people experiencing homelessness,” Dr. Sarah Rowan, infectious disease specialist at Denver Health, told 9NEWS. “The coordination has still been a challenge, but it’s gone pretty smoothly.”
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