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Encampment near Elitch Gardens still up after storm, set to close at the end of month

Several newcomers living at the encampment decided to stay put during the snowstorm. But they were told they'd have to leave at the end of the month.
Elitch Encampment
Posted at 4:11 PM, Mar 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-20 12:11:52-04

DENVER — The heavy snow this week was not enough to shut down a large encampment full of newcomers from Central and South America that has been set up near Elitch Gardens in Denver.

Wednesday, outreach workers with Denver Dream Center visited the encampment to offer shelter to dozens who have been living in tents there, ahead of the big snowstorm.

That day, Denver7 saw at least 50 residents at the encampment, including five children.

While all of the families with children took the help and got into a shelter ahead of the snow, the majority of individuals staying at the encampment decided to brave the weather.

Juan Carlos Peoltelli said he decided to stay put.

“Not just me, several of these guys decided to stay here," Peoltelli told Denver7 in Spanish.

Peoltelli said that decision came because they didn't want to lose their spot and several of them used the opportunity to make some money by shoveling snow.

Encampment near Elitch Gardens still up after storm, set to close at the end of month

“The next day, even the same night, they all went to work," he said.

Peoltelli was told that the encampment would be cleared out on March 28.

Jon Ewing with Denver Human Services said Elitch Gardens has requested that it all be resolved by the end of the month.

Ewing added that the park has been patient and willing to work with the city and folks in the encampment.

Ewing said everyone at the encampment will be offered time in congregate shelter while they figure out their next move. He said they will allow individuals to stay in the shelters for 21 days.

Peoltelli tells Denver7 that all they are asking for is the opportunity to work.

“All we’re doing here is trying to survive," Peoltelli said.

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