Is the Coliseum parking lot off the table for a city-sanctioned camp site for people experiencing homelessness?

The nonprofit that is to manage the camp says it is working with the area’s councilwoman to find a site outside Globeville and Elyria-Swansea.

District 9 City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca holds a meeting on homelessness at Jack Rabbit Slims in Cole, Nov. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

District 9 City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca holds a meeting on homelessness at Jack Rabbit Slims in Cole, Nov. 21, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca does not support placing a city-sanctioned camp for people experiencing homelessness in the Coliseum parking lot and is instead searching for another site in her district for what some call a safe outdoor space.

Lisa Calderón, CdeBaca’s chief of staff, said Monday that the District 9 representative opposed the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods “being overburdened with camp sites. They’ve done their part. She’s actively looking for another site.”

Mayor Michael Hancock announced on July 1 that he was reversing his long-held opposition to sanctioned camping. Weeks later, the Coliseum lot emerged as the top candidate for the first of two or three sites, each expected to accommodate 60 people. Residents of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea objected, noting that they had already hosted two large shelters established during the pandemic, one inside the Coliseum and one inside the neighboring National Western Complex, as well as a tiny home village that is an alternative to shelters. Globeville and Elyria-Swanswea residents depicted the decisions to locate support for people experiencing homelessness in their impoverished, largely minority neighborhoods as part of a decades-old pattern of treating the area as a dumping ground for the city’s problems.

Without CdeBaca’s support, it seemed unlikely the sanctioned camp would end up in the Coliseum parking lot.

Cole Chandler of the Colorado Village Collaborative, the nonprofit set to manage the sanctioned camp, said in an email Monday: “We are doing everything we can to find a location outside of GES.”

“We continue to evaluate sites across the entire city and are actively working with Councilwoman CdeBaca and her team to find other potential sites in her district,” Chandler added.

Earlier Monday, CdeBaca issued a press release responding to Mayor Michael Hancock’s State of the City address, in which he said unsanctioned camps that have grown in the city since the outbreak of COVID-19 “cannot persist” and repeated that the pandemic had created a need for extraordinary measures such as managed and serviced camping. Hancock had long resisted sanctioned camping, saying the focus should be on getting people experiencing homelessness indoors.

CdeBaca called Hancock’s remarks on homelessness “tone-deaf.” She said the safe outdoor space proposal brought to the mayor during the pandemic by a coalition of nonprofits and faith-based organizations “is a harm reduction measure that needs to be implemented citywide and at a scale to meet the need in our city — I will not allow District 9 neighborhoods of color to continue to be a dumping ground for failed administration policies.”

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver. Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

Weird times

Denverite is powered by you. In these weird times, the local vigilance, the local context, the local flavor — it’s powered through your donations. If you’d miss Denverite if it disappeared tomorrow, donate today.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.