Denver Must Buy Housing for Houseless People as COVID Health Response
How are you supposed to self-quarantine, have social distance, get rest, wash your hands regularly, or any of the guidelines for protection in this health crisis if you don’t have a home? You can’t.
If this city is going to respond to the health of the whole community – which is ever so more clearly interconnected these days – they must buy or rent hotels, vacant buildings, or houses where people without housing can have the option to follow these community safety guidelines.
This has been done in other cities such as Seattle WA. It can be done here in Denver.
Here are a few vacant hotels or buildings we suggest the City of Denver buy or rent (or ensure vouchers for at least one month) immediately for people without housing.
- Old VA Hospital on 9th and Colorado (1700 N Wheeling St Aurora, CO 80045)
- Vacant Hotels Along Colfax
- Vouchers for vacant apartments and/or hotel rooms
- RV’s can be rented by the city and parked in government parking lots or other places for people to live
- Any vacant city buildings or land should be used for housing (even tents if needed)
We also call on churches, community groups, anyone who has space to provide housing to a couple people in these times.
Furthermore, while the city is taking minimal steps to address our demands, most of these basic askes are still not being met by the city. We remind all that our resilience is interconnected. The lasting negative effects of the shut down of our city will have serious effects on those currently without housing, and those who will more likely be without housing soon…
Below are our demands we sent out on March 13th 2020 – noting what the city has done, and what still needs done:
- Moratorium on encampment sweeps – Police enforcement of the survival ban is still happening. Just this morning some people living outside were woken by police. To have a real halt on jailing people for low-level offenses as the city declared they will do, this must include threatening people with jail verbally or with tickets.
- Access to hygiene outside – The city has installed additional hand washing stations around town. This is good. However, they have still refused to place port-a-lets and hand washing stations near encampments where larger groups live outside and need these resources most.
- Sanitation in shelters – The city is making call outs for sanitation supplies in shelters and is looking into opening a couple rec centers for additional shelter space. This is one step. However, we want to see this additional space is truly opened and that all the other sanitation needs listed in our demands, including dividing walls, are provided.
- Health Care – There still is not any medics hitting the streets checking in for folks who need testing.
- Moratorium on evictions – The city did state that the city will not be sending sheiffs to conduct evictions. This is very good. However, further clarity is needed on what that means for people who are facing evictions now or may face evictions if they cannot pay their rent. Will people have rent costs waived? Or will the city cover costs for those who cannot pay at this time? Will people not be evicted now only to find they own three months of rent later and are evicted with no way to catch up on the costs?
- Housing – While the city is looking into hotel options this has not been actualized yet, and we are concerned it will only be for people who are showing symptoms and not include all those who are homeless forced to live in shelters and on the streets in vulnerable situations. We as a city and as a society must ensure there are housing options available for all to live healthy and safe. Please send the us and the city ideas for housing, hotels, buildings, land, ect that can be used to meet our communities need.