Dougco considers buying pallet shelters
A final vote is still needed at a future meeting. If approved, 17 shelters would be purchased. No location has been decided.
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — At a June 13 work session, Douglas County Commissioners voted to direct staff to pursue the purchase of 17 pallet shelters.
A final vote on the purchase would come at a later meeting, according to a Douglas County spokesperson, because the cost of the purchase would exceed $100,000.
The pallet shelters are small spaces to sleep, with heating and air conditioning, among other features.
Aurora already uses the shelters. In November, they installed 30 outside of the city’s Salvation Army location. They can each sleep up to two people.
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“We realize that there’s no instant silver bullet to solve homelessness, but we think we can get pretty close to functional zero if we address this early,” Republican Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon told 9NEWS Tuesday.
Laydon said the number of people experiencing homelessness in his district has increased.
In February, the Douglas County Homeless Initiative reported that 72 people were experiencing homelessness. That data was from a Point In Time count on Jan. 24.
A Point In Time Count counts the number of people experiencing homelessness on one night.
Right now, the county does not allow camping on county-owned property, including in their parks and open spaces. Individual cities and towns have their own regulations.
Commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of pursuit of the purchase, with Republican Commissioner Lora Thomas voting in opposition.
“We’re not ready to do this,” Thomas said on June 13.
There is no location yet for where the pallet shelters could go if the purchase is finalized.
The Mayor of Castle Rock wrote a letter to the commissioners on behalf of the Town Council in May, saying they’re opposed to a shelter site being in the town.
“The potential negative downsides to a shelter may outweigh the current concerns,” the letter reads in part. “Any discussion of a shelter should involve any potential host community and impacted neighborhoods and citizens.”
On June 22, the county will host a town hall for residents to provide feedback on how to handle the issue of homelessness.
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