A decentralized, community-based storage locker project for people experiencing homelessness, by Denver Homeless Out Loud.
DHOL’s locker project, called Belonging(s), addresses the lack of space for personal things that affects countless homeless individuals daily, by working with community partners to provide storage space accessible to those without homes. Belonging(s) also doubles as a public art installation, as each locker features visual and sculptural flourishes and adornments created by local artists from varied housing backgrounds.
In 2017, Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) teamed up with local business Sexy Pizza to provide lockers for the homeless. With a tiny scrap of underused patio space provided by Sexy Pizza, we were able to provide four safe and secure storage units for homeless individuals so they could safely store belongings while going to or looking for work, visiting family, or simply relaxing.
Under an Arts in Society grant from RedLine Contemporary Art Center awarded in 2018, we’ve been working with more businesses, non-profits, and faith-based organizations to expand this simple idea into one we hope will change the way people across the city think about unused space and what they can do with it. A key element is publicly accessible space to install lockers — even just a simple 2’ X 4’ footprint of ground can become a site of beauty, safety, and community care.
Benefits for partnering institutions include:
–opportunities for positive media coverage and PR
–outreach opportunity for congregation, employees, etc.
–unique and eye-catching art installation
–education; reversing antagonism against the unhoused
–being a part of city-wide community-based solutions
Benefits for locker users include:
–protection from often repeated loss of possessions
–alleviated back and body pain
–ability to go to work or an interview without a large pack
–feeling cared for by members of their community
–peace of mind
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in using lockers, hosting lockers, or adding your art to the lockers.
For potential hosts: Every partner has specific needs. For this reason, we sit down and develop partner-specific guidelines and policies ranging from art selection to maintaining lockers and locker use. You provide the space, we provide: lockers, installation, handling the permitting process, coordinating with locker users, and project promotion. Partners can be as involved as much or as little with these aspects as they wish.