Denver, State, Salvation Army Partner to Rehouse Homeless

Published on April 10, 2023

Denver, State, Salvation Army Partner to Rehouse Homeless Most Impacted by Pandemic

Protective Action Guests Get Extra Transition Help as Aloft Closes

A partnership between the City and County of Denver, State of Colorado, and The Salvation Army is helping people experiencing homelessness who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 find housing options as pandemic programs wind down.

Throughout the pandemic, the City and County of Denver has leased the Aloft hotel to use as a protective action shelter – a temporary emergency shelter designed to help guests living with health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 by sheltering them in temporary hotel and motel rooms rather than congregate shelters, where they would have been exposed to large numbers of other guests. These programs were always planned to close as pandemic response winds down and federal funds expire; the Aloft will close at the end of April. Aloft’s 124 guests were notified in January and encouraged to connect with case managers if they had not already to work toward housing outcomes before the shelter is closed.

That became easier as the facility operator The Salvation Army, the City and State worked urgently to assess and match guests with resources. The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing is helping vulnerable guests with health conditions to apply and enroll in Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Home and Community Based Service (HCBS) waiver benefits.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs further committed to supporting those protective action guests who are eligible for Medicaid or HCBS with Community Access Team housing vouchers. These state-funded vouchers help people with disabilities stay in their homes and communities and out of nursing facilities or other institutions by making their homes affordable, safe and accessible. In addition, the State is collaborating to fund the provision of support services, including transition coordinators, housing navigation, and transition set up.

Since announcement of the closure, 37 Aloft guests have already relocated to other housing. Of the remaining 87 guests, 30 have been identified as eligible for the State’s services and work is underway to match them with housing. The Denver Department of Housing Stability (HOST) is working to support temporary bridge housing for guests paired with State vouchers who may need additional time until their housing unit becomes available. HOST and TSA have matched another 38 guests with other housing options. Work remains underway to match the remaining 19 guests with housing outcomes or reserved shelter beds before the April 27 closure.

“We recognize that this transition is a difficult one, and we are so grateful to all our partners who are working diligently in the final days of this facility’s operation to find the best possible outcomes for all of our guests and to transition them smoothly,” said Laura Brudzynski, Executive Director of HOST.

Denver has one other protective action shelter currently in operation — the Park Avenue Inn at 3500 Park Avenue West. The property is owned and operated by Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and will close as a protective action facility at the end of June. The State has already committed to offering the same assistance for these protective action guests, as well.