AURORA, Colo. — The city of Aurora of is negotiating to lease a vacant warehouse to give people experiencing a homelessness a warm place to sleep during the winter months, Mayor Mike Coffman announced Tuesday.
The warehouse location, on the northwest side of the city, will also have a large fenced-in lot for people who are living out vehicles.
"No doubt, supporting this proposal was a tough call for me," Coffman said in a news release, "but I think it will give Aurora a safe place for the homeless to go to during the COVID-19 pandemic and it will allow us to be more aggressive about shutting down their encampments knowing that we have a place to send them."
Coffman did not provide the exact location of the warehouse. The city intends to use the warehouse from Nov. 1 to April 30.
The city provides 24-hour housing for the homeless at the Day Resource Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
Before the onset of the pandemic, there were 427 people experiencing homelessness in Aurora, according to a survey conducted by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative in January. That number was up from 389 in 2019 and up from 357 in 2018.
Updated numbers to reflect the impact of the pandemic are not yet available, though officials across the metro area have worked to provide more shelter options.
Denver earlier in the pandemic opened a temporary shelter at the Denver Coliseum. The city had planned to open a sanctioned campsite at the Coliseum site but scrapped the plans after pushback from neighbors,.