Apr 6, 2021 - News
Denver homeless camp moving to church parking lot in affluent area
Park Hill Methodist Church
Park Hill Methodist Church on Montview Boulevard. Photo: John Frank/Axios

One of Denver's sanctioned homeless camps is relocating to Park Hill United Methodist Church — a move that puts it at the same location as a preschool.

Why it matters: The city's homeless problem is typically associated with the downtown sector, like the Capitol Hill neighborhood where the camp is currently located.

  • The new site — one block from U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper's home — will force residents in one of Denver's wealthiest neighborhoods to more directly confront one of the city's thorniest issues.

What they're saying: "We are excited that some of the poorest members of our community will get to call Park Hill home for a little while," says Cole Chandler, the executive director of the Colorado Village Collaborative, which runs the camps on behalf of the city.

Details: The church's parking lot on Glencoe Street will host 45 shelters for people experiencing homelessness starting June 1 and continuing through the end of the year.

Rev. Nathan Adams, who announced the move during the virtual Easter Sunday worship, tells Axios his congregation embraces a strong social justice mission and volunteered its location to help address the city's affordable housing crisis.

  • "We are hopeful we can be a model for the rest of the city. And other neighborhoods, and churches and religious organizations can say, 'Oh look … we can do this in our neighborhood as well,'" he says.

What's next: The move is expected to generate controversy and Mayor Michael Hancock's administration must approve a zoning permit.

  • Chandler notes the preschool and after-school childcare center is on the opposite side of the building from the parking lot and the church has security measures in place.

The camp's residents, he says, "are no more dangerous than anyone else."

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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