Denver is closing its emergency shelter at The Rodeway Inn Motel

Rodeway shelter, which serves women, transgender and non-binary people, is closing in August.
3 min. read
The Rodeway Inn Motel, run by The Gathering Place, is closing as non-congregate emergency shelter in August. May 15, 2023.
Photo courtesy of The Gathering Place.

Denver will close one of its 24-hour emergency shelters on Aug. 24.

The Rodeway Inn Motel, run by the nonprofit The Gathering Place, currently serves 76 women, transgender and non-binary people in non-congregate shelter. City officials say Denver is considering turning the site into permanent supportive housing.

"We know resources are limited," wrote Gathering Place CEO Megan Devenport Friday. "Therefore, we choose to focus on the needs of those most at risk. We are disappointed that the City and County of Denver has chosen to discontinue a needed, and proven successful, shelter model."

Denver Department of Housing Stability (HOST) spokesperson Derek Woodbury said that non-congregate shelter remains a focus for the city, despite the plan to potentially turn the Rodeway site into permanent housing.

"While the Department of Housing Stability remains focused on expanding our affordable and supportive housing pipeline to create pathways to stability, we are also committed to providing shelter facilities like Rodeway that have individual rooms and can serve as an alternative to traditional group shelters for populations such as couples, non-binary individuals, and other households," Woodbury said.

"This is a model we have expanded in recent years, and we have over $23 million to support the purchase of non-congregate shelter this year with additional resources for operations and outreach."

The city opened non-congregate emergency shelters during the pandemic given the risk of virus transmission in congregate shelters.

Now, a number are closing. Aloft, a hotel shelter housing people vulnerable to COVID-19, closed in April after federal COVID-19 funding dried up.

"Many guests at Rodeway are survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault and feel unsafe staying in places where cisgender men also live," Devenport wrote. "Transgender and non-binary individuals are among the most vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and harm while living unsheltered."

City officials have said the number of women, transgender and nonbinary people using Denver's shelter system tripled during the pandemic. And studies show LGBTQ+ people are at higher risk of homelessness.

Devenport said Rodeway has helped more than 114 people find stable, long-term housing. Now, staff will have to find housing for more than 70 current residents who must leave by the end of August. Thirty-two staff members will also lose their jobs at The Gathering Place.

"The Gathering Place will continue to operate our day shelter services while also pursuing opportunities to recreate the Rodeway model in a new location," Devenport said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article featured a photo of a different Rodeway Inn. It has been updated with a photo of the correct building.

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