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Neighborhood associations call for more city-run homeless camps in Denver

Nine neighborhood associations have banded together to form the Unhoused Action Coalition, requesting tangible solutions to the homeless crisis in Denver.

DENVER, Colorado — A coalition made up of neighborhood groups throughout Denver is calling on the city of Denver to create additional homeless encampments. 

Four sites already exist in the city, but the group says more need to be set up, especially before the winter months. 

The Unhoused Action Coalition (UAC) is made up of nine associations: Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods; Baker Historic Neighborhood Association; Curtis Park Neighbors; Colfax Ave BID; Golden Triangle Creative District; Old San Rafael Neighborhood Organization; RiNo Art District BID and GID; Uptown on the Hill; and West Washington Park Neighborhood Association

UAC members have been collecting feedback from constituents in response to the housing crisis. Feedback included frustration at the extent of unsanctioned campgrounds, fears for personal security, empathy for those sleeping on Denver’s streets and myriad additional concerns.

In response, UAC submitted a letter to the city asking for collaboration to tackle the issue as well as objectives they believe may be able to help solve some of the problems.

"Winter is upon us once more, as it was around this time last year when we began these conversations, and again, we don’t have a significant plan of action," Travis Leiker with Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods said. 

Leiker said he has worked with community partners to begin discussions. However, he said there has been "very little success in getting a response from the city." 

For about 18 months, Leiker has also been asking the city to come up with a strategic plan. 

"I’m running out of answers as a neighborhood leader in terms of the best pathway forward," Leiker said. "What we are hearing from neighborhoods and neighbors, both housed and unhoused, is what I fear now is hostility is running at an all-time high, and it’s pitting neighbors against each other. Denver deserves better than this."

In response to the letter, the Denver Department of Housing Stability provided this statement: 

Supporting our unhoused neighbors to stability is of utmost concern for our community. Our final strategic plan draft sets out an aggressive goal to reduce unsheltered homelessness by half. We appreciate the perspective and urgency of the Unhoused Action Coalition and hope they see much of their feedback as well as broader community feedback reflected in the final plan. We stand alongside our contracted partner Colorado Village Collaborative in implementing and expanding safe outdoor space in Denver in both private and public spaces.

They also said they are working to provide more support for safe outdoor spaces, and the 2022 proposed budget includes funds to expand those sites. 

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