Weekend Cold Snap Wasn’t A Disruption For Denver Homeless Shelters

November 12, 2018
Photo: Denver Homeless | Rescue Mission Camp, March 2016 - NMinor
A cyclist pauses near a homeless person's encampment outside of the Denver Rescue Mission in downtown on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

Freezing temperatures, whipping icy winds and heavy precipitation pushed many street dwellers to seek shelter this weekend — but not all of them. 

Catholic Charities of Denver runs multiple shelters that span the Front Range and Vice President Mike Sinnett said patronage of their shelters was average. 

"Our uptick actually took place a couple weeks ago," Sinnett said. "When we had the first snow and the temperatures dropped into the teens, so that's about the time our numbers start floating up."

Though the number of empty beds is decreasing, there are still vacancies and Sinnett said its very rare that they turn someone away due to space. In early winter, when temperamental Colorado weather jumps into the 50's after blistering in the low teens, empty beds are still common. 

Looking in from the outside, the burgeoning number and location of homeless camps cropping up around the state suggests otherwise, but Sinnett said that points to another battle that the outreach community has in providing shelter. 

"It's not a space thing, its a choice thing. So a lot of that population that you seeing milling about are what we call service resistance," he said. "They have the need but they don't have the desire to come into the shelters and that's true of a lot of the different shelters available in Denver and of the other cities."