The Denver Coliseum will close next month as an emergency shelter for men experiencing homelessness so preparations for the 2022 National Western Stock Show can begin.
The closure comes as the shelter has been running at nearly full capacity, according to Department of Housing Stability spokesperson Derek Woodbury, who confirmed to Denverite the 300-bed shelter will cease operations in early December. The city contracted with The Salvation Army and Bayaud Enterprises to run the facility.
“Together with our partners, we are working to relocate Coliseum guests in the coming weeks to place them into options that may include housing, motel rooms that are designated as protective action for those more vulnerable to COVID-19, or to other shelter options,” Woodbury said in a statement. “Our shelter system currently has the capacity to accommodate all guests that will be transitioning from the Coliseum.”
The emergency shelter opened at the height of the pandemic, on April 20, 2020, originally serving women and transgender people. It switched to serving men in August 2020. The 24/7 shelter had additional overflow capacity.
Kristen Baluyot, Denver Metro Social Services Director at the Salvation Army, said in a statement the agency is working with the city and other community partners to make sure people are relocated to permanent, stable or alternative shelter options, adding their goal is to make sure all guests are transitioned to their preferred shelter option.
National Western Stock Show President and CEO Paul Andrews said the Coliseum hosts nearly 30 rodeos during the stock show, and it takes about two or three weeks to get it ready. Preparation for the stock show usually begins in December.
Guests will notice a few new things on the roughly 250-acre campus, including the grand opening of the National Western Stock Yards and the Stockyards Events Center, which will host auctions but also be available year-round for other events. Andrews said exhibitors from 42 states and 35 countries are expected to participate next year.