Denver proposes adding homeless camp outside Montbello building

Denver consider adding homeless campsite in Montbello

Tents line the 780 Elati St. homeless campsite in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The city is considering leasing a portion of the lot outside the Arie P. Taylor building at 4685 Peoria St. for a similar campsite. (BusinessDen file photo)

The parking lot outside a municipal building in the Montbello neighborhood is the latest in Denver proposed to host a sanctioned campsite for the homeless.

The city wants to lease a portion of the lot outside the Arie P. Taylor building at 4685 Peoria St. to the nonprofit Colorado Village Collaborative, which would be authorized to erect up to 60 tents housing up to 70 individuals, according to city documents.

The lease would extend for one year and have two six-month renewal options, according to the documents. The municipal building houses a police station, an office for Denver Human Services and a motor vehicle department office, among other things.

This would be the eighth location since the first sanctioned campsite opened in late 2020, and the second on city property. The camps, which are fenced in and staffed 24/7, generally operate at a single location for between six months and a year, and multiple camps operate at one time.

The proposed lease will go before a City Council committee on Tuesday, and will need to be approved by a majority of the council at a later date. Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer was the only member to vote against the first lease of city property for a camp.

Currently, campsites are located:

• On Denver Health-owned property at 8th Avenue and Elati Street in Lincoln Park. CVC said last week the location will close by the end of this year.

• On city-owned property at 3815 Steele St. in Clayton.

• At 221 Federal Blvd., on land owned by St. Francis Center, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado.

The campsites are made up of uniform-looking ice fishing tents. The proposed lease with the city for the Montbello lot states that two CVC staffers be on site at all hours, that at least one hot meal a day be provided and that at least one toilet be installed for each 10 residents.

In February, the Denver City Council approved a $3.9 million contract with CVC to operate campsites. That was on top of $900,000 which was approved in February 2021.

CVC, which launched in 2017, also operates tiny home villages, where individuals that would otherwise be homeless live in small structures. The organization also leases those sites for minimal rates from private or nonprofit landowners.

CVC founder Cole Chandler told BusinessDen in June that his organization hoped to buy some real estate itself — specifically some vacant land or an old motel with a parking lot.

Chandler, who had served as executive director of the organization since its launch, stepped down from the post Aug. 12 to take a job with the state.

CVC’s board appointed Shay-La Romney, formerly chief operating officer, as interim CEO and said it is searching for a new leader.

Denver consider adding homeless campsite in Montbello

Tents line the 780 Elati St. homeless campsite in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The city is considering leasing a portion of the lot outside the Arie P. Taylor building at 4685 Peoria St. for a similar campsite. (BusinessDen file photo)

It would be the eighth sanctioned location since the first temporary camp opened in late 2020, and the second on city property.

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