Denver, CO

Denver spends $2.75 million to house homeless at former motel

David Heitz
Salvation Army Crossroads homeless shelter will remain open at least through 2023. The Salvation Army also will operate a homeless motel.City and County of Denver

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Denver will continue to use the former Rodeway Inn at 4765 Federal Blvd. as a homeless shelter at least through Dec. 31.

Denver City Council awarded the Salvation Army a $2.75 million contract Monday to run the shelter. The Salvation Army will partner with The Gathering Place. The Denver Housing Authority owns the former hotel.

According to a staff report to the council, the non-profits will serve 200 households per year. The Salvation Army will supply fiscal oversight while The Gathering Place handles programming and case management services. Catholic Charities previously managed the shelter.

So far, the city has spent $650,000 cleaning hotels after people experiencing homelessness occupy them.

Providing maintenance, security

Rodeway Inn will staff a full-time, on-site janitor during business hours Monday through Friday. Custodians remove trash, empty exterior dumpsters, remove litter, provide pest control, clear snow, change light bulbs, and complete minor repairs, including clogged toilets and leaky faucets.

The shelter will keep at least one security guard on duty and install a video surveillance system.

Long list of services, amenities

According to the contract, the Salvation Army will:

· Provide three to four guest services staff per shift to supply hospitality support, serve food, enforce program expectations, conduct room checks, and ensure a safe environment.

· Complete orientation and intake for each new guest. Case management supports include a guest handbook, assessment, and non-compulsory case management meetings at least twice a month. The case managers will work with guests to identify housing barriers and solutions and supply financial aid.

· Supply training for staff, including non-violent crisis prevention and intervention and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

· Use trauma-informed and client-centered approaches to engage vulnerable populations. "Currently, the Salvation Army with support from The Gathering Place is developing programming to align with best practices for serving underserved populations including but not limited to LGTBQIA," according to a staff report.

· Support and supply resources for Limited-English Proficient (LEP) individuals. All guests will have access to services in their language of choice.

· Provide resources and connections to guests needing help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Service providers previously identified this as an urgent need in Denver.

· Offer laundry services.

· Supply amenities such as on-site parking, internet, television and telephone.

· Serve three meals per day.

· Control bugs and rodents.

· Offer storage.

Crossroads lease extended

Also, Monday, the City Council agreed to extend the lease with Salvation Army Crossroads homeless shelter through Dec. 31, 2023. Crossroads, located at 1901 29th St. in an old meat warehouse, leases the space from the city for $10 per year.

Funding secured for Stay Inn hotel

Congress recently approved funding for the city to buy a hotel and convert it into housing for people experiencing homelessness. According to a news release from Congresswoman Diana DeGette, the city will receive $2 million to renovate the Stay Inn, a 95-room hotel in East Denver.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at local newspapers in Los Angeles, Detroit, and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am living proof that people can rebound from mental illness with proper treatment, even after experiencing homelessness. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living here.

Denver, CO

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