The safe outdoor space at Regis University will relocate to Barnum

The site will move in June.
3 min. read
A Safe Outdoor Space at Park Hill United Methodist Church, when it opened in June, 2021. This spot has since moved elsewhere.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

A Barnum property owned by the St. Francis Center will soon be the new site of the safe outdoor space currently at Regis University.

The Colorado Village Collaborative announced Monday that the partnership between CVC and St. Francis will continue with the relocation of the SOS site from Regis to the Barnum plot of land in June.

St. Francis has operated the SOS site at Regis since it opened in June 2021. Initially, the site had a six-month lease with the private Jesuit university but the school extended the lease to host the site for a full year.

In a press release, CVC said they've served about 114 people at the site and 24 residents "have received support into more stable housing."

The land housing the new location on Federal Boulevard was acquired by St. Francis earlier this year, according to executive director Tom Luehrs.

Alex Midgley is program director with EarthLinks, which is operating Denver's first safe outdoor camping site. Dec. 4, 2020.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

St. Francis, which provides housing and other services for people experiencing homelessness, intends to build 60 units of affordable housing on the land for the unhoused who are 62 years and older.

They are currently working on acquiring funding for the project and hope to break ground by June 2023.

"Since the SOS site that we presently operate at Regis University needs to move, we knew we needed another site and this site would really be ideal," Luehrs said. "There's nothing on the site right now. It's vacant land and we could easily put the 50 tents there and operate for the next 11 months at that site."

The St. Francis site is the seventh SOS facility since the program launched, according to the release. It's about 21,000 square feet and will house up to 60 people. The facility, similar to the other SOS sites currently operating, will provide 24-hour staff and secure shelter, along with food, wellness checks and assistance finding permanent housing.

Besides the Regis location, CVC operates sites at the Denver Human Services East in Clayton and on land owned by Denver Health Medical Center on Elati Street in Lincoln Park.

While there's no concrete plans, Luehrs said residents interested in the construction field may be able to assist in the affordable housing build. If residents meet the criteria, they may also transition into the housing when it becomes available.

"For the past 13 years, we've been creating what we feel is the ultimate answer for people who are unhoused and that is building housing," Luehrs said. "That's what we've been about at St. Francis and that's what the SOS sites are about. We've been able to assist people into permanent housing and that's the ultimate goal... to assist people in getting off the street and into decent and affordable housing."

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