First sanctioned homeless campsite proposed for site in Five Points

The campsite would be established next to Sonny Lawson park in Five Points. People have already been camping in the area. Photo by Thomas Gounley.

The city and a nonprofit partner are considering establishing a sanctioned homeless campsite along Welton Street in Five Points.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on his Facebook page over the weekend that the camp would go on a small strip of city-owned right-of-way between Sonny Lawson Park and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, at 2401 Welton St.

There are already illegal campers in the area.

Hancock said the location has cleared “technical and regulatory hurdles,” and “we are just beginning to meet with neighbors.” Three virtual town halls are scheduled for this week.

A homeless encampment over the summer at Civic Center Park.

“No final decisions have been made and would not be without first engaging with the community,” Hancock wrote.

The camp would be overseen by nonprofit Colorado Village Collaborative, which is largely known for Beloved Community Village, a collection of so-called “tiny homes” in Globeville occupied by individuals that were previously homeless.

“We want to emphasize any campsites, wherever they are located, would be temporary, staffed 24 hours a day, and would bring a controlled environment to the uncontrolled encampments in neighborhoods across the city,” Hancock wrote.

Eight City Council members signed a letter in April calling for “safe outdoor spaces” where individuals could camp given the coronavirus pandemic. Hancock has resisted the idea, but in July asked the eight to recommend potential sites within their own districts.

Hancock has said there could ultimately be up to three such campsites in the city.

The parking lot of the Denver Coliseum was an early front-runner for a campsite, but that proposal was nixed after Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, who represents the area, indicated she didn’t support that location. The site along Welton Street is also within CdeBaca’s district.

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Wade Walton
Wade Walton
10 days ago

Reactive instead of proactive. Our city leaders are a joke. What a mess we have now! I have lived downtown for 11 years and must say I am embarrassed to have company visit. Killing the businesses and catering to homeless. Disgusting.

Matt Kennedy
Matt Kennedy
10 days ago

after the “engaging the community” process, it will be very interesting to see how many of Cdebaca’s supporters are on board with this campsite. I feel it should be designated along 24th from Arapahoe to Welton.