DENVER — Tents line the street in front of Denver Community Church and in its parking lot, Denver’s second safe outdoor camping space was ready to welcome people in.
"The folks that we’re prioritizing are actually living in an unsanctioned encampment directly across the street right now," said Executive Director of the Colorado Village Collaborative Cole Chandler.
Men, women, couples and pets are all welcome. Between both safe outdoor spaces, 70 people are able to find shelter.
"We know that this model won’t work for everyone but we think that this can be something that can really alleviate pressure in neighborhoods and most importantly provide a safe, dignified space for people," Chandler said.
For Mark Doyle, who moved into the safe outdoor space, just having a shelter to safely put his things away and rest is more than he’s had in a while.
"It’s weird not having to worry about your stuff. You can leave it, you know? It’s going to take me a while to get used to this," Doyle said.
The safe outdoor space outside the church will also offer a variety of services and will be manned 24/7 until May 2021.
In one day, they had already reached capacity.
"If more kindness like this was shown it would be a lot better place, brother — not only in Colorado, but in the world," Doyle said.
For many, these shelters are the first step to a new chapter in their lives.