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New Safe Outdoor Space location providing support to Denver's unhoused community

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Posted at 8:56 PM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-26 15:07:38-04

DENVER — The Colorado Village Collaborative has moved one of its Safe Outdoor Spaces to support more of Denver's unhoused community.

“It can be a dark and scary place out there,” said Randall Jones, 49, who has experienced homelessness for roughly four years.

After he was evicted him his apartment on short notice, Jones lived in motels and then on the streets. He said a trip to the hospital after an accident saved him.

After that hospital visit, he ended up at the Safe Outdoor Space on West 13th Ave. in the La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood.

“Never seen so many people wanting to help you,” said Jones.

Jones lives in one of the climate-controlled pallets on site because of his injury.

The North Federal Boulevard location in Barnum West moved to the new location on West 13th Ave. on Saturday. The Colorado Village Collaborative says there’s a lot of excitement with this move.

“It has given us an opportunity to serve more people. So we’ve actually expanded by 10 units at this space,” said Cuical Montoya, Safe Outdoor Space program director with Colorado Village Collaborative.

The site is bringing in 20 more people than before, serving a total of 70.

In March, Denver City Council approved more than $7.5 million in funding to continue the city’s support of Safe Outdoor Spaces through 2024. The majority of the money is coming from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“The fact that we can serve more people with the same amount of money makes me really happy,” said Montoya.

What makes this site unique is it’s the first Safe Outdoor Space site to provide access to indoor spaces like a dining area.

While this site won’t be here long-term due to its two-year lease, the Colorado Village Collaborative says its future is bright.

“It was really exciting to hear that the developer wanted to partner with us to activate this land temporarily while they’re in the process of designing newly affordable housing,” said Montoya.

“Bravo to them that they would put something in action instead of sitting on the money or doing something else with it,” said Jones.

The City of Denver is in the process of making the zoning permit for Safe Outdoor Spaces permanent. This is scheduled for a public hearing and final vote on Monday, June 5.

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