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Safe Outdoor Space For Homeless Gets Mixed Reaction In Denver's Park Hill Neighborhood

DENVER (CBS4)- A new safe outdoor space for Denver's unhoused residents is coming to Park Hill. Park Hill United Methodist Church is offering up the church's parking lot off Montview Boulevard and Glencoe Street.

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The Colorado Village Collaborative will run the new Park Hill site starting June 1. It will replace the current site at Denver Community Church in Capitol Hill that is set to close at the end of May when its lease is up.

"This is part of our faith," said Reverend Nathan Adams, lead pastor at Park Hill United Methodist. "This is a citywide issue, this is a countrywide issue, and it's going to take everyone working together across our city to try and help address our most vulnerable neighbors and the needs that they have."

Park Hill United Methodist Church reached out to the Colorado Village Collaborative about hosting the space. Pastor Adams says it's their way of putting faith into action. He says while church members have been supportive, he has had some mixed reactions from the community.

Rich Gianotti has lived in Park Hill since 1981 and has some concerns.

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"There are a lot of people within this vicinity that are turning around saying, 'How did this happen?'" Giannotti said. "It's a church trying to do God's work, but I really question the time frame. I get very nervous when things are sprung on us and we don't get to have a discussion. They're putting this tent city right next to people's homes."

Colorado Village Collaborative Executive Director, Cole Chandler, says the site will house 50 people in 45 individual tents. He says Denver City Council approved funding for Safe Outdoor Spaces through the end of the year. Some of the money will be put toward the Park Hill site.

"It's safe, it's clean, it's quiet, it's secure and that's really what we're trying to promote. This is a managed space, we have 24-hour staffing here checking residents in as they come in through the gate every single day," Chandler said. "They will have bathrooms that are serviced every day, they will have showers and laundry, the site will have trash that's collected three times a week, there will be tents for services and food delivery as well, every tent will have an electrical outlet, and there will be places for people to cool down in the heat of the summer and warm up in the depths of winter."

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Park Hill Community Church and the Colorado Village Collaborative plan to host community information meetings and an open house for Park Hill residents at the current safe outdoor space at Denver Community Church so they can ask questions and provide input.

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