DENVER — For the last nine months, Izea Westbury, has called the Denver Coliseum home. Come Friday morning, all of that will change for the men who took shelter there.
"Very frustrated. That's definitely it right there. They're a little stressed out and even a little worried that someone might be sleeping on the street," Westbury said.
The shelter at the Denver Coliseum, which opened as an emergency shelter at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, is closing so preparations for the National Western Stock Show can begin.
Throughout the day Thursday afternoon, buses could be seen parked outside the Denver Coliseum waiting to take men to different shelters. Westbury wasn’t one of them.
"Because that's that bus leaves to the 48th shelter, and then when people get over there, they're turning them down at the gate," Westbury said.
Other men experiencing homelessness had similar concerns.
In a statement, they city’s department of housing stability says it, "relocated nearly 300 guests from the coliseum to a range of other 24/7 shelter programs and protective action hotel rooms. Together with our services partners, we’re continuing to transition remaining guests today and early tomorrow to other shelter locations. Our shelter system has capacity to accommodate all remaining coliseum guests.”
"I feel like they're leaving a lot behind, [to] be honest with you," Westbury said.
Christopher Fulcher has taken shelter at the Denver Coliseum for 15 months and says he had a positive experience. Even as he and his friend set up a tent a few hundred feet away from the Coliseum doors.
"Right now, some of the other shelters we’re trying to get into are just, are pretty crazy because there's several 100 people now that have just come out and now have to go someplace," Fulcher said.
Staff was helping Fulcher find a new place to live, but he said he'll have to wait.
"I was a little late getting involved with it, but I have a lady who's a case manager from the Salvation Army who's working on trying to help me find an apartment," Fulcher said.
Despite the challenges ahead, he remains positive.
"I feel like it is going fall in place, and maybe at some point in my life that's not going to be the case, but at this point, I still like believing in that," Fulcher said.
Come Friday morning, all remaining men at the Coliseum will have to leave. For some, the next step is still up in the air.