Aurora utilizes Pallet shelters to house 30 to 60 people experiencing homelessness
And no, they aren’t made out of pallets.
A new and alternative emergency shelter has opened at The Salvation Army in Aurora and will provide housing for 30 to 60 people through the winter and into 2022.
Aurora officials said 30 shelters created by Pallet, a social purpose company, were installed Wednesday at the Salvation Army on East 33rd Avenue and Peoria Street.
A press release from the city said Aurora is the first city in the metro area to utilize Pallet shelters.
Pallet is a Seattle-based company that is “working to end unsheltered homelessness and give people a second chance at employment.” The organization builds “tiny home” shaped shelters that come equipped with two foldable cots, storage space, windows and, most importantly, electricity for heat and air conditioning. Each shelter is made from aluminum and composite panels that are prefabricated, making installation fast (less than an hour) and easy (using minimal tools.)
“Pallet shelter villages combine the dignity of personal sleeping cabins with a healing community environment,” said Amy King, Pallet founder and CEO. “We’re honored to partner with the Aurora community to provide a space where people can move off the streets immediately, stabilize, engage with services, and move on to permanent housing.”
The shelters are meant for temporary housing as they do not have plumbing or kitchens. The Salvation Army will offer meals and showers to residents, while also helping them through social services such as workforce support.
“The Pallet shelters provide a space for people to get their bearings with dignity,” said Kristen Baluyot, director of Denver Metro Social Services with The Salvation Army. “Once people are reminded of their worth and dignity, they tend to strive for a more permanent situation. We are optimistic about the future of the safe outdoor spaces and hope we can continue to serve the Aurora community.”
According to the 2021 Point-in-Time Report, almost 600 people sought emergency shelter in Aurora. However, the city only has 150 available emergency shelter beds.
The Aurora City Council approved the Pallet shelters in September, after some back and forth regarding how the city plans to house those experiencing homelessness, especially as winter approaches.
Council members agreed to purchase 30 Pallet shelters and 30 fishing tents, which will be added to the existing 30 tents at the city’s safe outdoor space.
The Sentinel reported some council members wanted to purchase 60 Pallets, but that would have cost the city approximately $718,000 of federal dollars. Each ice fishing tent costs about $300, before adding heating elements.
The 30 Pallets were funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and federal Emergency Solutions Grants, costing the city approximately $290,000.