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Denver still looking for sanctioned campsites for homeless

Posted at 8:06 PM, Jul 28, 2020

DENVER — A couple of weeks ago, the city announced its plans to use the parking lot outside the Denver Coliseum as a safe outdoor space for the homeless. That's not the case of anymore.

“We’re working to identify a better first location,” Colorado Village Collaborative Executive Director Cole Chandler told Denver7 Tuesday.

The site initially chosen by the Colorado Village Collaborative - in the Globeville/Elyria-Swansea neighborhood - was met with backlash from neighbors who feel the city moving the homeless there wasn't exactly fair.

“There’s a couple of reasons for that. The biggest being this question of equity that the city has always failed to address. I mean, look around you; I’m sure it’s not always easy to get here nowadays,” GES Coalition member and neighborhood resident Alfonso Espino said.

Espino has lived in the neighborhood his whole life and has witnessed firsthand the struggles for residents in the area. He says their concerns aren't anti-homeless, just another example of inequity with the city’s plan.

“We have these neighbors now, they’re part of our struggle as well, and now we also have to bear the burden of having them in their struggle. There’s no solution at hand,” Espino said.

Espino and many of his neighbors spoke to Denver City Council Monday night to make their voices heard.

“They heard me. Did they listen? That’s two different things, right?” he added.

If anything, the Colorado Village Collaborative leader says he did.

“The GES neighborhood has been historically marginalized and they have had to bear a ton of new responsibility for a number of things over decades, and I’ve heard that loud and clear during this process,” Chandler said.

So they're now working with Councilwoman Candi Cdebaca to identify a new site in the district for sanctioned campsites for homeless.

“We’re hoping it’s days away. We are very interested in the finding and identifying that next location,” Chandler said.

Espino just hopes it doesn't end up back in the same place city leaders have turned for so many other "alleged solutions," as he described them.