Denver leases downtown hotel Aloft to shelter people experiencing homelessness during coronavirus outbreak

Guests will get three meals a day, WiFi and privacy.

The Aloft Denver Downtown hotel, May 4, 2020. (David Sachs/Denverite)

The Aloft Denver Downtown hotel, May 4, 2020. (David Sachs/Denverite)

staff photos

The city added 140 hotel rooms to its stock of temporary shelters for people experiencing homelessness Monday when it leased every room at the Aloft Denver Downtown.

Denver City Council members unanimously approved the $1.9 million deal, which adds to the city’s growing number of hotel rooms for its unhoused residents. Still, the 700 rooms available are a fraction of what Denver’s housing department says it needs — about 3,000.

Residents will get three meals a day (from a separate contract), TV, WiFi and a private, safe place to stay — at least through the end of the month when the contract ends. The city and Aloft can extend the agreement if necessary, the contract states.

Terese Howard, head of Denver Homeless Out Loud, said 87 percent of people without homes prefer hotel rooms to shelters and tents, citing a nonscientific survey her group did on the streets.

“Hotel rooms is by far the first choice,” she said. “Then tents. Otherwise, shelters was the last choice.”

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