Together We Will
We continue to work with the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) on the “Together We Will” program. As you may recall back in November of last year, members of this committee were invited to the press conference where the program was announced. This is a multi-agency coordinated effort aimed at improving safety and the perception of safety in the Convention Center Corridor.
In walking around the area near the Convention Center and the Performing Arts Center, we have seen tremendous improvement. There has been progress in reduction of illegal campers, cleanliness of the streets and graffiti removal. While there is still a lot of room for additional progress, we think the improvement has been clear. If you would like to read more about the “Together We Will” program, please see the November 22, 2022 article on UpDoNA’s website entitled “Things Are Getting Better”. https://updona.org/2022/11/22/things-are-getting-better/
One Lincoln Park
UpDoNA members living in One Lincoln Park (OLP) haven’t experienced the improved conditions that have occurred in the southeastern half of Upper Downtown. Large encampments have sprung up in the area along 20th St. just east of Broadway. The current encampment is due to be cleaned up on April 25, but as commonly happens in other areas of the city, after a cleanup, the illegal campers simply move a block down the street until the next sweep, leaving our members in that area frustrated and with a feeling of helplessness. We believe that UpDoNA can help improve the situation.
The S&QOL Committee has begun meetings with residents and communication with the city regarding this issue. We are developing a strategy which will require some dedicated and sustained action by the committee and more importantly by the OLP residents. This will not be a quick fix, but the committee believes that we can help alleviate the problem.
Aloft Shelter Status (as of April 20, 2023)
We continue to meet with Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST) regarding the Aloft Hotel and its use as a shelter for the past three years. At the peak of its occupancy, there were 141 residents living in Aloft. After the decision had been made to close Aloft as a shelter, HOST and its partner the Salvation Army have been slowly drawing down the resident population. In January when the closure date of the shelter was known, there were 124 residents in the building. As of this writing (April 20, 2023) two floors have been vacated, and the hotel should be completely empty by April 27, 2023.
During our discussions with the city, we made it clear on several occasions that we did not want anyone displaced onto the street. We were assured that HOST along with several agencies would be working diligently to find housing alternatives for all residents. Additionally, we offered any help that UpDoNA residents might be able to provide such as used luggage or moving boxes. As of April 10, 2023, alternative housing had been identified for all but 38 residents. Several of those residents spoke during the public comment portion of the City Council meeting that evening
making urgent pleas for help in the identification of shelter for them. We are happy to report that as of our last meeting with HOST on April 18, there remained only two residents without housing alternatives, and we were assured that housing will be found for them.
HOST has agreed to hold a meeting next month in which members of the S&QOL Committee will provide polite but frank feedback on our views of the program. We will discuss the things that we believe went right and those we believe went wrong throughout the duration of the Aloft Protective Action Shelter contracts, covering both in the initiation of the contract as well as the administration of program.
We are also considering the continuation of the monthly meetings with HOST, but our conversations would morph into other aspects of homeless housing and outreach.