Letter to Mayor/City Council concerning Beloved Community Denial and City Support for Tiny Home Villages

To: Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver City Council Members

From: Colorado Village Collaborative & Partners

Subject: Beloved Community Village Denial & City Support for Tiny Home Villages

Date: 1 November 2018

 

Mayor Hancock and City Council,

We, the undersigned organizations, call on the City of Denver to first identify and provide  a city-owned host property for Beloved Community Village, second expedite a smooth permitting process for Beloved Community Village and the proposed Women’s Village to ensure both are open this winter, and finally we ask you to clear the pathway for scaling this effective solution immediately. We believe this is a necessary and appropriate course of action following the events of October 26, 2018 when the Colorado Village Collaborative was informed by Public Works that there was no path to receive permits for the Beloved Community Village at the proposed location at 3755 Ringsby Ct. on the Taxi Campus.

This denial came 6 months to the day after we first showed this property to the city, after multiple meetings with all departments including Public Works, after significant design and planning work was put in by our team and partners donating time from multiple firms, widespread engagement with the surrounding community, and one week before we planned to begin construction on a new community house that would significantly improve the quality of life for residents of the village. It is unacceptable for the city to wait until the 11th hour to raise a nonnegotiable project-ending issue. While we have great appreciation for the diligence and contributions of many on city staff  and the support of elected leaders, this oversight risks displacing village residents from housing and returning them to homelessness. It also adds a burden of wasted effort and inefficiency to a strategy of quickly and affordably addressing Denver’s homelessness and housing crises. The city should be an ally, ensuring that more homes were opened for this winter. Instead, they are currently the primary bottleneck to expanding tiny home villages for people experiencing homelessness.

Public Works’ denial represents the second time in four months that a proposed tiny home village for people experiencing homelessness has been denied by the city after a lease agreement was in place with a private landowner and funding was secured from community supporters. The first denial came on a proposed Women’s Village at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church during the Landmark Preservation Review process on July 10, 2018.

This denial comes as a growing number of people on Denver’s streets face the onset of winter weather, and the city’s renewed commitment to sweeping camps where people survive without providing viable alternatives. From service providers to the newly released shelter plan from Denver’s Road Home, there is widespread agreement that both the current shelter infrastructure is inadequate and that there is insufficient affordable and attainable housing stock. We believe that stalling the expansion of tiny home villages runs counter to this administration’s equity platform and expressed support for innovative solutions to homelessness. The time is now for scaling solutions like Beloved Community Village. The village’s pilot phase has been a well-documented success. BCV has proven that tiny home communities are a safe, timely, cost effective solution that improve the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness and positively impact their surrounding neighborhood contexts.

We once again call on the City of Denver to first identify and provide a city-owned host property for Beloved Community Village, and second expedite a smooth permitting process for Beloved Community Village and the proposed Women’s Village to ensure both open this winter. Together, we can take proactive steps to provide safety, security, and stability with and for a small number of our sisters and brothers who would otherwise be on the streets.

At the same time, we ask you to clear the pathway for scaling this safe, timely, cost effective solution at once. Mass homelessness does not have to be a permanent feature of our society, if we work together, we can create immediate solutions that impact the lives of the human beings currently living on our city streets. We look forward to hearing from you very soon.

 

Thank you,

 

Colorado Village Collaborative

The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado

Bayaud Enterprises

Zeppelin Development

Radian

The Denver Foundation

Barton Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise

The Buck Foundation

Mile High Connects

Denver Homeless Out Loud

9to5 Colorado

RiNo Art District

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