Denver, CO

Update: Denver council approves homeless hotel for families at Comfort Inn

David Heitz
Comfort Inn on Quebec.Photo byGoogle Street View

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) The Denver City Council agreed Tuesday to lease for one year the Comfort Inn on Quebec for $5.8 million for families experiencing homelessness.

The Finance and Governance Committee approved a contract earlier this month with Quebec Hospitality LLC doing business as Comfort Inn. The hotel has 138 rooms.

Angie Nelson, assistant director for the city’s Department of Housing Stability, said the city has seen a 244 percent increase in demand over 2021 for family shelter space. She said the city already has moved homeless families into the Comfort Inn. Services are being provided under a different contract that expires soon.

The city has not made public who would operate the family hotel. A partner has been chosen, Nelson said, but not yet approved by the City Council. She said the provider “has a long history” of providing services to homeless families.

One-stop shop

She said the hotel will be a one-stop shop for support services, including case management, counseling, and linkage to more permanent housing. Currently, families are served across scattered sites, some not in the Denver School District.

Councilmember Debbie Ortega suggested residents of the building could take turns babysitting for one another. She said it would be great if residents could earn money by doing so through an existing city program. Councilmember Amanda Sawyer agreed that other city departments operating in silos might offer programs that would benefit residents of the family hotel.

Three meals per day will be provided to residents of the hotel under a separate contract. Around-the-clock security will be provided by the hotel.

Other homeless hotels closing

As Denver brings Comfort Inn online as a homeless hotel, it is decommissioning Aloft hotel as a homeless shelter. Neighbors complained that drug use was rampant around the hotel, which is near the convention center. Residents of the hotel said the problems were not caused by the people who lived there.

The city also stopped using Quality Inn on Zuni as a homeless shelter.

Employment assistance needed

Ortega said it’s important employment assistance be offered to residents of the hotel. The hotel will be split between short-term rooms of up to 14 days and longer-term shelter of 90 to 120 days. The abbreviated stays make employment assistance even more critical, Ortega said.

Ortega said the goal should be to “help people get resettled and back into the workforce, not to keep them stuck in a situation of limbo.” She said employment and even baby-sitting for neighbors will “make them feel like part of something bigger than themselves.”

Nelson agreed and said case managers will provide job-seeking services. She said some families may have disabilities and are unable to work. Case managers would work with those families to obtain benefits, Nelson said.

Room cost is $110 per night. Nelson said that because the hotel will host families, rooms will contain multiple people, putting the hotel population around 400. The city would have options to renew the contract for four years as well as buy the hotel.

Comments / 12

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