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Denver breaks ground on 120-home micro-community in Overland neighborhood

The "tiny home village" is part of Denver Mayor Mike Johnston's plan to get 1,000 unhoused individuals off the streets by end of the year.
Pallet home groundbreaking South Santa Fe
Pallet home micro-community denver homelessness
Posted at 8:26 PM, Oct 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-12 22:26:44-04

DENVER — The City of Denver broke ground this week on a micro-community for people experiencing homelessness.

The site is owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and located near South Santa Fe Drive and Iliff Avenue in Denver's Overland neighborhood. It will include 120 tiny homes, or pallet homes.

Micro-communities are a large part of Denver Mayor Mike Johnston's plan to get 1,000 unhoused individuals off the streets by end of the year.

“I think it’s a fabulous thing,” said Amy Beck, an advocate for the unhoused. “We need to start moving quickly if we’re going to get 1,000 people off the streets before the end of the year.”

But not everyone is thrilled with the site.

“Why do we need to build all these micro-communities when Denver has more than enough shelter capacity for the unhoused?” said Craig Arfsten with Citizens for a Safe and Clean Denver.

Each of the homes is between 70 and 120-square feet.

“The pallet homes will have windows. They have heat, air conditioning for summer, a bed and a desk, but also have a door with a key and a lock,” Beck said.

Pallet home micro-community denver homelessness

Drug use is not allowed in the community. Officials say there will not be sobriety checks.

“And so, you have to ask yourself, are they going to do (drugs) in the camp? They’re not supposed to. Are they going to do them in the neighborhood? Probably,” Arfsten said. “It’s just a magnet for illegal activity in this neighborhood. And this neighborhood does not deserve that kind of abuse. And it really is abuse."

The micro-community is just one of nearly a dozen planned in Denver, including another one at Santa Fe and Alameda, which will feature 40 pallet homes.

“Once they see them actually working, then a lot of their fears are going to be relieved,” Beck said.

“You’re basically going to have a safe injection site in your neighborhood,” Arfsten said.

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