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Embassy Suites holds move-in day for unhoused families with children in Colorado

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston opens new housing facility for homeless
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston opens new housing facility for homeless 02:20

More homeless people are now off the streets of Denver.

According to Denver Mayor Mike Johnston's office, the city of Denver has now closed eight encampments and housed more than 850 people.

Mayor Johnston's administration mapped out where newly created hotels and micro-communities are in the city.

At least 100 families are moving into the Embassy Suites on Hampden Avenue from the Comfort Inn Shelter at 4685 Quebec Street.

The city of Denver says this hotel has more rooms, which will allow the city to provide more services to more families.

"It's a critical part on our path to success to our goal to get 1000 people off the streets and into housing," said Johnston.


Johnston paid a visit to the Embassy Suites Thursday morning to welcome families and staff into the new shelter now in southeast Denver.

Tran Wills, the senior outreach manager for the city of Denver says she can relate because she was once in their shoes.

Wills was a teen mom and unhoused from age 15 to 17. 

She says thanks to her school counselor she was able to get back on her feet, but she did not have resources like these shelters then.

"Homelessness looks different for everyone and sometimes they just need some kind of support and what the city and the mayor is doing right now is one step towards making everyone's lives better," said Wills.


However, not everyone was on board with this housing option.

Earlier this month tensions flared at a community meeting at Hamilton Middle school as neighbors and the mayor discussed the conversion of the Embassy Suites at 7525 E. Hampden Ave. near the Tamarac Shopping Center and Bible Park.   

Neighbors shared concerns about safety and drug use, but despite the concerns city council still approved the $20 million purchase.

The Salvation Army will operate the facility, and the hotel's existing hospitality services group will support this transition.


The hotel will be used to house families with children and special needs only.

They are moving that program to Embassy Suites because according to Sabrina Allie, a city spokesperson for Department of Housing Stability for the City and County of Denver " it has more rooms and will be able to serve more families. Intake for the family shelter program is coordinated through The Salvation Army's Connection Center, which currently has a waitlist," said Allie.

As for the Comfort Inn and Suites Denver Northfield shelter on 4685 Quebec St, it will continue to be used to house the unhoused in 2024.

Despite criticism from tenants regarding mold and bed bugs, the city says it'll work with the owners and make repairs. There is no exact date for when the shelter will be ready for use.

In the last year, Denver police say it received 520 calls for service from the shelter, including an incident in October of a reported stabbing where three people were hurt.


Police add a number of these calls are non-criminal in nature or were unfounded, therefore the number of incidents reflect a lower number than the call numbers suggest.

House1000 Initiative Progress Since July 2023:

  • Since the start of Johnston's administration in July, more than 1,100 units have been secured to bring people experiencing homelessness indoors, according to the city.
  • Eight encampment closures have been completed providing safe and stable indoor shelter to more than 850 people as part of the Mayor's House1000 initiative.
    • 89 people from 20th and Champa streets on Dec. 19
    • 93 people from 22nd and Stout streets on Dec. 20
    • 64 people from 18th and Marion streets on Dec. 21.
  • A new public dashboard and map has been updated to help the public understand the number of people who moved indoors and the locations closed to camping.
  • Four additional hotel sites — the former Radisson, Best Western, DoubleTree and the Embassy Suites — have been identified to provide non-congregate shelter opportunities as part of Mayor Johnston's House1000 initiative. The sites have been approved by City Council.
  • The Johnston administration is moving forward with three micro-communities: 2301 S. Santa Fe Dr., 12033 E. 38th Ave., 1375 N. Elati St.

The micro-community at 12033 E 38th Ave. is also expected to open soon. 

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