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Aurora set to open new emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness

Posted at 4:55 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 13:21:02-05

AURORA, Colo. — As pieces of gravel fly back and forth in an Aurora lot near Oakland and Peoria, Michael Prince imagines the possibilities.

"I don't want to give up because I know at the end of the line there's some kind of a reward," said Prince.

He's been homeless now going on six years, and at 65, he hasn't stopped working.

"I've had a window business for forty years, and not one of my customers knows that I'm homeless. I don't want them to know, but if they're watching, maybe now you know, but I'm still proud, and I can take care of myself, and I still work," said Prince.

If he stays the course, he knows he will have a roof over his head one day, and his pathway could be on this very ground.

"We actually have an opportunity now, here in our backyard, to bring people in more towards safety and services and build that relationship to bring them in and work toward permanent supportive housing," said CEO of Mile High Behavioral Health Care, Robert Dorshimer.

Mile High Behavioral Health Care, along with the City of Aurora, are on the verge of opening a new emergency shelter inside this vacant building.

"Our normal plan for cold weather shelter just won't work this year with COVID. We need to have folks spread out, and we really needed more square footage," said Aurora's Director of Housing and Community Services, Jessica Prosser.

At least 100 people can take shelter inside, and others can stay outdoors.

"This is our backyard here will be for our first safe camping site," said Dorshimer.

After checking in at the Aurora Day Resource Center, people will have the option to sleep in their own tents or cars and all while taking advantage of available resources.

"Having places like this really, really, helps. On cold days, their doors are open, and they have coffee and food, they provide a lot of services," said Prince.

The city will lease the building for at least six months. They are giving those in need a timely answer to their calls for help.