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Concerns grow as Denver brings more hotels online to house homeless

With just weeks away, Denverites question mayor's plan to house homeless
With just weeks away, Denverites question mayor's plan to house homeless 03:39

If you ask Kyra Dolores, she'll tell you life on the streets is anything but pleasant. Yet she's considering going back.

"I'm so grateful I have running water to this day, but it just seems purposeless, you know? I don't know if that makes sense, it's just like 'What's really going on here?' Because I don't feel like I'm doing anything but vegetating," she said on Tuesday.

That's a stark change from where she was just a few months ago.

"I think a lot of lives are going to change," Dolores said hopefully in September.

She was one of 77 people moved off the street and into a converted hotel as part of the mayor's first homeless camp resolution. That's a first step in his mission to house 1,000 people who were unhoused at the start of his mayorship.


 The city hopes to use the Stay Inn on Peoria Street in a similar manner and took their plan to a concerned community in the northwestern part of the city. Residents posted questions to the mayor centered around location and safety.

"How are these supportive housing units working?" one of the audience members asked Mayor Mike Johnston.

Johnston assuring them the model works with the right support services in place.

Those coming off the street are promised wraparound services, though they're not required to use them. For Dolores they've also proven to be difficult to access. In the two months that she's been housed at one of the city's hotels she's had four case managers.

"So depressing. I feel so hopeless. I am like actually considering leaving. I feel like I can navigate better closer to where I was and the resource. I knew even though it was unpleasant many times," she said.

CBS Colorado used the meeting as an opportunity to ask the mayor about those struggling to get that support.

"That's why we have data and accountability from these sites to say 'Alright, if we need to improve more on mental health at site 1 or workforce on site b we are prepared to do that," Johnston responded.

CBS Colorado also asked about what plans are in place to ensure this temporary housing isn't the last stop for those looking for more.

"We are not in any way taking our eye off the ball of permanent affordable housing. We are doing that at the same time and we already have the first 500 units secured to get out of this transitional housing," Johnston said.

Those 500 units will be delivered in the form of a voucher. But without a case manager, Dolores says she hasn't been able to secure one. And while she stresses how grateful she is for the roof she's been given, she worries the road the city is on may lead to more of the same.

"The mayor pushed and pulled in all directions without talking to the people in the middle. The people with the best answers are the people going through hell," Dolores said.

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