Months of failed negotiations threatened to put the residents of Beloved Community Village, Denver’s tiny-home community for people experiencing homelessness, back onto the streets.
The organization behind the concept, the Colorado Village Collaborative, has been searching for a new home since September when a proposal to relocate the structures to Zeppelin's TAXI campus was rejected by Denver's Department of Public Works, which cited flooding concerns.
Now the village, working in tandem with the city, plans to relocate in March to a city-owned property at 4400 N. Pearl St. in Globeville, where it could stay for up to four years and nearly double in size.
Cole Chandler, co-director of the Colorado Village Collaborative, doesn’t expect that there should be any issues with approval this time around.
“From our perspective, this is currently a lot that’s vacant, trash and weeds collect there, it’s a dark corner in this neighborhood and we’re really hoping to bring some life there immediately, in a way that’s not going to be a great cost to the city,” Chandler said. “It’s going to create some positive benefits both for the surrounding neighbors and for those folks who were previously living on the streets that will be homed there.”
Mayor Hancock and Denver's Department of Community Planning and Development worked closely with the collaborative to find a suitable property and ensure there wouldn't be any last-minute concerns.
“We made sure that it was suitable before we even unveiled to the Village, so it's pretty likely it's gonna be approved,” Hancock said. “And it comes on the heels of us completing a pretty comprehensive assessment of land that the city had available that we could start using for some other creative opportunities like the Beloved Village.”
The new site would have a one-year lease that could be renewed annually for up to four years, at a cost of $10 per year for the village. The plan still requires approval by the Denver City Council. If that happens, the Village could see significant expansion as a part of its three-phase moving process.
The first step is relocating all existing structures from the RiNo location to the Globeville spot. Chandler said the cost to move the 11 tiny homes plus its community room and showers holds a $25,000 price tag. Chandler said he hopes the city will chip in for at least some of the expenses. Mayor Hancock said the city may be able to allocate funds.
“Probably from our community development block grant money or our housing funds money,” Hancock said. “We’re working on that today as a part of our efforts to help move this community.”
The second phase involves constructing a community building with three bathrooms, a kitchen and a meeting space that will be connected to water and sewer lines. The final phase of the process would be adding up to nine additional tiny homes structures which would nearly double the community in size.
The city will host a community forum about the new site from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Globeville Recreation Center, 4496 N. Grant St. Spanish interpretation will be provided. The proposal will go before the whole city council for a final vote on Feb. 19.