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Homeless residents moving into new Safe Outdoor Space with hopes to move out

Homeless residents moving into new Safe Outdoor Space with hopes to move out
Homeless residents moving into new Safe Outdoor Space with hopes to move out 02:05

Just off Second Ave and Federal Blvd, a new safe outdoor space is giving people experiencing homelessness in Denver a chance to flourish.

"On hot days like this, this is a little oasis," said Amanda Pennington, Development Associate at St. Francis Center. "Each resident has their own tent with shade, a fan, clean water, space to eat and drink."

Pennington says the Barnum Safe Outdoor Space is a joint effort with the Colorado Village Collaborative.

"Denver is becoming a model and the city and residents of Denver and other cities are seeing it's working, it's successful," said Pennington.

(credit: CBS)

Ismael Abdullah is a living success story.

"I became homeless during the first lockdown of COVID – a lot of people lost their jobs,l. I lost my job. I used to work security in the city," Abdullah recounted to CBS4's Mekialaya White. "My mentality was, I'm going to go through this. It won't be easy, but I'm not afraid."

(credit: CBS)

And he says in the years he was on the streets,  he persevered. Often, he wasn't certain if he'd make it through the night. 

"I remember one time there was a really bad snowstorm and I woke up and it was very cold. There was snow on the edge of my blanket. I was like, 'wow,' you know?"

Pennington says that's why the organizations  designed this space, to give humanity back to people and help them prepare for the next step in life.

"Everyone is human and everybody deserves dignity and respect and sleeping out on the streets is dehumanizing and doesn't bring dignity and respect but giving someone space that's their own where they can access support and community and the basic things we take for granted," said Pennington.

(credit: CBS)

Abdullah encourages anyone in a similar situation to utilize the SOS resources. They've helped him move toward a stable housing situation, which he is in the process of securing.

"Don't give up, don't give up, hang in there and don't be too prideful to ask for help. If you come in for the program and you take advantage of the resources, the staff here will open their arms for you, they will go above and beyond because they've done this for me."

Currently, there are 30 residents at the Barnum SOS with space for 53 people. To learn how to become a resident, click here:

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