DENVER — Denver received its first delivery of Pallet shelters Wednesday morning, part of Mayor Mike Johnston's plan to provide 1,000 unhoused Denver residents with some form of housing by the end of the year.
In August, the mayor’s office asked the city council to approve a $7 million contract with Pallet, a social purpose company, for 200 tiny homes. The tiny homes are 70 by 120 square feet in size.
The homes will have AC, twin beds and desks. City officials said the first location will be on E. 38th Avenue and Peoria St. The shelter will have 54 tiny homes, able to house 60 people.
Mayor Johnston's House1000 plan includes three micro-communities, set to open in December. In August, Cole Chandler, the mayor’s senior advisor on homelessness, said they plan on creating 7-10 micro-communities.
"We're basically going to go into those encampments and tell them we have a place for them," said Chandler. "We'll be able to go directly into encampments, and bring people that were living on the streets, in tents, into a home of their very own in the form of a micro-community."
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In addition to the Pallet shelter on E. 38th and Peoria, Chandler said the city will also open two more shelters in December, with Manufactured Sleeping Units (MSUs).
Although the initial plans for shelters were $7 million for Pallet shelters, the city is now splitting up the funds between Pallets and MSUs. On Monday, the council approved a plan for three sites, one with the Pallet shelters and the other two with MSUs.
"We also wanted to look down the road longer term, what was going to be a great long-term product here for our climate in Colorado, and we feel really great about the manufactured sleeping units as a great long-term product for us," said Chandler.
These are the three planned locations for the shelters:
- 54 Pallet shelters on E. 38th Avenue and Peoria Street
- 120 MSUs on 2301 S. Santa Fe Drive
- 45 MSUs on 1375 N. Elati Street
The mayor pledged to build micro-communities in every council district. However, that proposal received some push-back from the council back in August.
Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer said there was very limited city-owned land in her district.
“The vast majority of it is zoned OS-A, which is open space. It's parkland. Under our zoning code, you cannot build a micro-community on it,” said Sawyer.