The operator of Denver’s sanctioned homeless campsites could get another $3.9 million from the city if a new contract is approved.
Colorado Village Collaborative has run the city’s campsites since late 2020, and it received almost $900,000 in February of last year.
The contract initially limited the organization to 100 tents at a time. Most tents house one person, but some house couples.
The new proposed contract that would last through the end of the year would bring the total the city has paid the nonprofit since 2021 to nearly $4.8 million. It calls for CVC to operate at least four campsites serving up to 310 households, or about 370 people.
Cole Chandler, the nonprofit’s executive director, said he doesn’t expect campsites to concurrently have a total of 310 tents, but rather to assist about 310 households over the course of the contract.
“We’re actively searching for additional locations,” Chandler said. “Our plan is to operate four sites this year. If these funds are approved, that will help us move forward with our mission to serve an ever-greater number of our unsheltered neighbors.”
Right now, CVC operates three campsites, in the Lincoln Park, Clayton and Regis neighborhoods.
Campsites were previously established in Cap Hill, Uptown and Park Hill.
All of the campsites have been established on private property, with the exception of the current one in Clayton on city-owned land.
The proposed contract says the funding for the sanctioned campsites is intended to help homeless people stay safe from COVID-19 by providing safe space to socially distance. But Denver city officials have indicated they see the programs as a temporary housing solution even post-pandemic.
Last year, during his State of the City address, Mayor Michael Hancock specifically called for more sanctioned campsites. The city budgeted $4.3 million for approved campsites and tiny homes for 2022.
CVC is currently hiring for multiple positions, including a campsite manager with a starting salary between $45,000 and $55,000.