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Sanctioned homeless camps in Denver still a work in progress as residents continue to raise concerns

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 20:24:33-04

DENVER — Denver’s first sanctioned homeless camp has been in the works for the last couple of weeks and still there is no official decision on where it will be.

Dillon Richardson, who lives in a homeless camp near Morey Middle School, says he’s worried about crime, safety and the health of the community. He's not alone, as neighbors, schools and families have raised similar concerns over the past weeks.

"You got a camp outside a middle school. The school is losing. Residents are losing. The city is losing. Hopefully they’ll move to a better location that’s better for them," Richardson said.

Cuica Montoya, the Safe Outdoor Space Manager for the Colorado Village Collaborative, has been chosen to manage Denver’s first sanctioned camp after being homeless herself.

"When somebody hears you say the words, 'I get it,' and (they) know that you truly do get it, that you’ve experienced maybe not the same journey but very similar hardships during time on the streets," Montoya said, explaining what it's like to be in position to help other people who went through similar situations.

She told Denver7 the new camp will host 50 tents and no more than 60 people.

For now, the coliseum’s parking lot remains a top choice.

"I have a feeling that they’re going to fill up very quickly", Montoya said.

There’s also talks of getting a shower truck, laundry services, and warm meals to feed those who may need them.

"On one side you got a lot of folks that are down and need the help that will welcome from that sanctioned camp, and then you have those who, you know, the proof will be in the pudding. Will they go there?" asks Richardson.

If everything goes as planned, the earliest anyone would be able to set up camp there is August 6.