Aurora plans to open a shelter for people experiencing homelessness later this month

The social distancing necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 has meant cold weather shelters in the Denver suburb have had to decrease cots.

Bob Dorshimer, CEO of Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, stands inside a warehouse that will become his nonprofit's new emergency homelessness shelter in Aurora. Nov. 11, 2020.

Bob Dorshimer, CEO of Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, stands inside a warehouse that will become his nonprofit's new emergency homelessness shelter in Aurora. Nov. 11, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Aurora is planning to turn a warehouse into a shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

In a statement Friday, the city of Aurora said the shelter would accommodate up to 100 people and be located in a now vacant warehouse in north Aurora. The new shelter is to start operating in late November or early December and remain open through April.

Aurora City Council has given preliminary approval for the shelter. Leasing the site and other shelter expenses will cost about $185,000 a month, secured from federal emergency dollars. Additionally, Arapahoe County is providing about $100,000 for setup and supplies.

The shelter is to be operated by Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, the nonprofit that runs a drop-in center for people experiencing homelessness and the Comitis Crisis Center, both on the Anschutz medical campus in Aurora. Comitis has a long-term shelter for adults, transitional housing for families and military veterans and an emergency shelter for families.

The drop-in center, which is known as the Aurora Day Resource Center, and Comitis also serve as temporary emergency shelters during cold weather. The need for social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 has meant Aurora’s cold weather shelters have had to decrease cots. With the new emergency shelter, the Aurora Day Resource Center, Comitis Crisis Center and motel vouchers, Aurora will be able to accommodate up to 450 people, which the city said is the same number typically sheltered in Aurora during the winter before the pandemic.

Once the new shelter is open at 3293 Oakland Street, people will be transported there from the Aurora Day Resource Center.

The city added that people will be able to park RVs or pitch tents outside the facility if they are uncomfortable in a shelter but would like access to security and services.

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