Regis University to host next “Safe Outdoor Space” for people experiencing homelessness

Denver’s Regis University will be the next site for a city-sanctioned program temporarily housing people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

The 19,000-square-foot Safe Outdoor Space — created in partnership with the Colorado Village Collaborative, the Saint Francis Center and the city and county of Denver — will open June 8 in a parking lot on the private, Jesuit university’s northwest Denver campus, the school announced Wednesday.

The site will be the fourth of its kind since the program launched in 2020. It will be staffed around the clock and provide secured shelter for up to 60 people who are screened and approved by service agencies, a Regis news release said. The facility, which will operate for six months, will provide shelter, cots, food, wellness checks and help finding permanent housing.

“Ours is a faith that does justice, a faith that calls on us to commit ourselves to combat indifference, walk with the poor and foster dignity among all peoples,” the Rev. John P. Fitzgibbons, Regis’s president, said in a statement. “We were given the opportunity to provide a safe and secure temporary home for those suddenly cast onto the streets through no fault of their own. We embrace and welcome those who need an extra measure of human kindness and concern during these difficult times. As Pope Francis says, ‘If we do not take care of one another… we cannot heal the world.’”

The first two Safe Outdoor Spaces, which will close in June to be replaced by the Regis University location and another at Denver’s Park Hill United Methodist Church, have operated in downtown Denver since December.

Cole Chandler, executive director of Colorado Village Collaborative, will host an open house at an existing Safe Outdoor Space site on May 8 at 1595 Pearl St. in Capitol Hill for any residents near Regis University who want to learn more.

Chandler also will host two virtual community information meetings on May 15 and May 20. For more information, visit coloradovillagecollaborative.org/safe-outdoor-space.

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