Updates with second site receiving zoning permit, expected to open by Dec. 17.
Denver’s first temporary sanctioned camp for people experiencing homelessness is set to open in less than a week in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Capitol Hill.
Matt Lynn, spokesman for the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, said in an email Tuesday that the site at First Baptist, which will be managed by the nonprofit EarthLinks, will open Monday. The site had received a temporary zoning permit last month allowing plans to move ahead.
The First Baptist parking lot is one of two that the Interfaith Alliance has helped to identify as sites for what also are known as safe outdoor spaces. Wednesday, city officials granted a temporary zoning permit to the second site, at Denver Community Church’s Uptown location at 1595 Pearl St. The Denver Community Church site will be managed by the Colorado Village Collaborative. Cole Chandler, executive director of the Colorado Village Collaborative, said plans were for the Community Church site to open by Dec. 17.
The campsites are a measure to address homelessness amid winter and during a coronavirus surge. Each will only be open for six months.
Organizers have said First Baptist will have 22 tents and accommodate a maximum of 30 women and transgender people. Community Church will have 30 tents for a maximum of 40 people. The Community Church camp is for single men and women, couples, people with pets and LGBTQ individuals.
Both camps will be fenced off and staffed all day and night. People living in them will be provided with tents, places to store belongings, bathrooms and showers as well as mental health counseling and other support to help them move toward stable housing.
Corrects name of nonprofit that will manage the First Baptist site. It is EarthLinks.