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Homeless advocacy group reports residents kicked out of NW Denver shelter for minor infractions

Encampment outside Samaritan House 48th.jpg
Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-31 20:52:56-04

DENVER — Housekeys Action Network Denver (HAND), a nonprofit that advocates for people experiencing homelessness is reporting that several women living at Catholic Charities Samaritan House 48th in Denver have allegedly been asked to leave the shelter due to minor shelter infractions.

“Numerous residents of 48th Street shelter have approached us with serious issues going on at that particular shelter. These include elderly women, who have been kicked out for reasons regarding just how much property they have. One elderly woman was kicked to the streets, living in a tent next to the shelter because she had her property and was told she had to be condensed to two bags under her bed,” Terese Howard, HAND organizer said.

In a video HAND recorded and posted to Instagram, the 70-year-old woman describes what happened when she had not condensed her belongings down to two bags.

In the video the woman said “she (manager) only notices what little percentage I hadn’t got done, and she said you’re DNR’d for 7 days.” DNR stands for “do not return.”

Howard said 35 other women, many of them over the age of 60 years old reported similar experiences to HAND.

“Literally being kicked to the streets for having, you know, a couple too many bags, having blankets draped over your bed, having your bed two inches over the line,” Howard said.

Several former shelter residents reported similar incidents to Denver7 but wanted to remain anonymous.

Samaritan House 48th resident Skyenna Hayes said she's had a positive experience at the shelter.

“They let me rest and they're very supportive of me and my needs,” Hayes said.

But Hayes said downsizing personal property is an issue for many.

“Just some people down on their luck don't want to come off what they got. And it may be too much for a little bunk area with no cabinets or nothing to put it in,” Hayes said.

Howard said shelter leaders promised to address the issue, but the shelter evictions continue.

“The mayor has his House1000 initiative. Meanwhile, women are being kicked to the streets from a shelter, or to live at the very encampments,” Howard said.

Howard said the move is cruel and HAND wants city leaders to step in and review shelter policies to stop shelter residents from ending up back on the street.

In a statement to Denver7, the City of Denver’s Office of Human Resources said:

The Department of Housing Stability monitors all shelter services contracts to ensure that providers are meeting the sheltering needs of guests while treating them with dignity and respect. We are in regular communication with all providers regarding service delivery and outcomes. We understand that the Women’s Emergency Services team at Catholic Charities regularly reviews protocols, is currently reviewing these alleged incidents, and is working directly with the participants involved in compliance with standard practices and procedures.

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