City and County of Denver Provides Updates on COVID-19 Response
DENVER – The City and County of Denver is expanding its efforts in providing greater physical distancing for people experiencing homelessness. Denver and area shelter providers are preparing to open an auxiliary shelter for women experiencing homelessness at the Denver Coliseum, scheduled to open later this week through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
The National Western Complex auxiliary shelter for men reached capacity over the weekend and additional space at the city’s other shelters was opened to meet demand. The auxiliary shelter at National Western Complex served 736 people, while the city’s shelter at 48th and Colorado was opened to accommodate an additional 286 people (capacity 300), and Crossroads shelter served 250 (capacity 300). Women’s shelter providers helped shelter 233 women. The auxiliary shelters allow for adequate physical distancing to reduce harm among people experiencing homelessness.
“I commend our strong network of shelter providers, who while facing numerous challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis, have never faltered from continuing to create safe conditions for individuals in need,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “The steps we have taken together over just a few days to stand up the National Western Complex and the Denver Coliseum is nothing short of amazing."
The new women’s auxiliary shelter will serve up to 300 women and operate similarly to the men’s shelter providing screening, medical triage, and access to respite facilities for those exhibiting symptoms or advised to isolate due to medical necessity. All guests will be screened for symptoms at entry.
In other news related to the City’s ongoing response to COVID-19:
- Park closures: To prevent large gatherings and maintain extreme physical distancing, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment and Denver Parks & Recreation closed Civic Center Park on Saturday, April 12 until further notice. This includes the surrounding areas of Lincoln Park, MacIntosh Park, Pioneer Monument, and the Public Library lawn. The city will continue to monitor and enforce physical distancing in parks and is considering additional measures to ensure compliance in other Denver parks.
- National Guard flights: Residents should be aware that two Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters will be landing in downtown Denver during the afternoon of Tuesday, April 14. The helicopters are transporting survey teams to perform a site visits for the Colorado Convention Center and other alternate care sites. Mayor Hancock and Governor Jared Polis will join the survey team, which includes U.S. Army Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, Commanding General and 54th U.S. Army Chief of Engineers (USACE).
- Equity analysis: Mayor Hancock has requested that the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment perform a detailed analysis of the disparity of COVID-19 cases among ethnic groups and in certain Denver neighborhoods.
- Resources available: Support is available for Denver residents in need of food, housing, utilities, shelter access, and more. Resources and links for assistance can be found on the city’s COVID-19 Relief Support and Resources site.
- ‘Stay at home’ Order: The Mayor and City leaders are in the early stages of planning for how the city will begin to phase out of the restrictions in the public health order. These planning efforts prioritize the health and safety of residents and ensure that subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks do not occur. The current Order is set to expire on April 30. Mayor Hancock reiterated that residents must stay the course and remain vigilant in complying with the order.
- Volunteers needed: The need for volunteers in Denver remains critical to support our residents experiencing homelessness. Denver has partnered with Mile High United Way to make it easy to volunteer. Residents who are young, healthy and show no signs or symptoms of illness are needed to assist providers. More information is available at www.unitedwaydenver.org or on the city’s COVID-19 response site.
- Finance update: The Department of Finance continues to implement actions to mitigate the revenue impacts of COVID-19 on the city’s workforce and residents. Estimates change daily. Currently, the impact to revenues could be as much as $180 million in 2020. Sales and use taxes are the most impacted by COVID-19 and constitute $140 million of the current revenue loss estimate. The city has a three-step approach to mitigating the financial impacts including, use of reserve funding, citywide savings, and savings from agency budgets. The city is submitting requests for federal reimbursements.
For more information on the city’s COVID-19 response, visit denvergov.org.