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Denver's cold weather shelters close, coliseum shelter extension expires

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Posted at 9:20 AM, Feb 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-18 11:26:45-05

DENVER — The City of Denver extension of the Denver Coliseum's severe weather shelter expired Saturday morning. Earlier this month, due to below-freezing temperatures, the city kept the coliseum open as a 24/7 severe weather shelter until 9 a.m. Saturday.

Migrants and un-housed residents at several cold weather shelters, including the coliseum, said they were told to leave Saturday morning. Several advocacy groups are questioning why there wasn't a second extension or why other shelters weren't allowed to stay open, since the temperatures are still expected to drop below freezing Saturday night.

"One week we're in a shelter, the next week on the streets," said Juan Carlos, a Peruvian migrant.

Carlos saw several families that were forced to leave the coliseum and helped escort them to DCC for temporary shelter. Carlos migrated to Denver five months ago and said he's worried for other migrant families who aren't used to the cold.

"It breaks my heart seeing the kids out in the cold," Carlos said.

Outside Elitch Gardens, Carlos and other migrants are helping some of the families, who were forced to leave the cold weather shelters, find warmth and tents at the camp.

Denver's cold weather shelters close, coliseum shelter extension expires

"You're going to end up seeing people on the streets at corners with all their belongings and trying to camp out here in the cold with small children," said V Reeves, an organizer for Housekeys Action Network Denver.

Reeves said the shutdown of the shelters is having a disproportionate impact on migrant families, since many are not used to the cold temperatures. They are currently housing a migrant family, with two children.

Reeves said the city is directing some homeless families to DCC for temporary shelter.

"Families can go to DCC to do intake, and then they will likely be taken to another family shelter," Reeves said.

We reached out to the city multiple times on Saturday asking why there wasn't a second extension. We haven't heard back, but we will update you as we learn more.

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