Denver, CO

Denver may purchase Stay Inn, move in homeless quickly

David Heitz
The Stay Inn at 12033 38th Ave., Denver, likely will be converted into housing for people experiencing homelessness.Google Street View

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Denver City Council likely will use a $2 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help buy a 96-room hotel for people experiencing homelessness.

Denver may acquire the Stay Inn 12033 E. 38th Ave. The city also may buy two adjacent parcels at 3835 and 3805 Peoria St. The item is on Monday’s City Council agenda.

“Unlike new construction on a vacant site, this project will require minimal renovation to immediately deliver homes to at least 96 individuals currently experiencing homelessness,” according to a memo from city staff to the city council. “The additional vacant property on this site will provide options for additional housing or services in the future, amplifying this impact of this acquisition.”

A non-profit partner such as Salvation Army or Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will operate the hotel. It will immediately be used for permanent supportive housing, which includes wraparound services such as case management and mental health treatment.

“The initial application for a community project funding grant in 2020 called for the
property to be acquired for shelter for people experiencing homelessness with eventual conversion to permanent supportive housing,” according to the memo. “Shelter is no longer contemplated on the site.”

Hotels keep homeless out of hospitals

The recent Point in Time count of people experiencing homelessness in Denver tallied more than 4,700. A July study published in Journal of the American Medical Association suggested hotels for the homeless may save taxpayers money. Although the study examined programs in California, Denver has the same programs.

“In this cohort study of 686 high users of acute county services experiencing homelessness, those who received a shelter-in-place hotel placement had significantly fewer emergency department visits, hospital admissions, inpatient days, and psychiatric emergency department visits compared with matched controls without a placement,” the study found.

Emergency services for people experiencing homelessness, from ambulance rides to ER visits and psychiatric hospital stays, cost taxpayers massive amounts of money. According to a 2019 issue brief by Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, “Emergency room visits cost, on average, $3,700 which equates to $18,500 spent per year for the average person experiencing homelessness and $44,400 spent per year for the highest utilizers of emergency departments. People experiencing homelessness are often unable to pay these high medical expenses, which means that ultimately taxpayers will carry this financial burden.”

Comments / 24

Published by

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

More from David Heitz

Comments / 0