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Regis University parking lot to be the next location for homeless safe open space in Denver

Regis Univeristy safe open space.png
Posted at 4:51 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 19:43:37-04

DENVER, Colo. — On June 1 a part of a parking lot at Regis University will be one of the next sites for a safe outdoor space for up to 60 people experiencing homelessness.

The parking lot sits less than a half-mile from the main campus.

"It’s quite a ways from our core campus so students will not be necessarily interacting on a daily basis," said Todd Cohen, a spokesperson for Regis University.

One neighbor told Denver7 off camera that he's in favor of the camp coming in. But others have their concerns, like Dave Curtis, who lives across the street from the soon to be camp will be.

None of the nieghbors we talked to knew about it until yesterday.

"Hopefully it’ll turn out well but it seems like neighbors close by should’ve been given some notice and allowed to have some input," said Curtis, who found out about the safe outdoor space on Wednesday through an article he read.

Cohen said they've been in contact with neighbors about the open space.

"We’ve had a really positive response from the neighborhood. People want to know how they can help," Cohen said.

Cohen says the safe outdoor space will look similar to the two currently residing in the Cap Hill neighborhood.

"We did tour the existing space in Capitol Hill and we were really impressed with how well it was managed. How safe it was and how secure," Cohen said.

The sixth-month permits for the ones in Cap Hill end at the end of the month.

"It’s a shame this one is existing because the one that’s coming before it has to move because of a six month temporary permit," said Ben Dunning with Denver Homeless Out Loud.

Dunning would like to see the existing safe spaces in Cap Hill remain and still expand to other locations like here at Regis.

"We need about 50 of these things so until the city responds in scale, this is what life is going to look like here in Denver," said Dunning, as he pointed behind him to tents being used by those experiencing homelessness.

The City and County of Denver will be paying the bills. Cohen says Regis is not receiving any money for their services. Cohen said the residents will be screened before being allowed to enter the encampment.

"A little bit of grace and charity goes a long way. These folks need a helping hand to get their lives back in order and it’s the least we can do. It aligns with our mission to serve others," Cohen said.