September 19, 2023

Denver approves homeless shelters

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in its 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, said that roughly 582,500 people experienced homelessness on any given night in 2022. If you’re in an urban area (from San Francisco to Miami or Seattle to New York City), chances are good you see evidence of the rise of homelessness.

Denver, where Elevated Industrial Solutions has its headquarters, looking at offsite construction options to help. According to the Denver Gazette, the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative counted 9,065 homeless people throughout the seven-county metro area, a nearly 32% increase from 2022. To combat homelessness, the Denver City Council approved a contract of $7 million to create 200 homeless shelters. These shelters will be made with products from Pallet Shelters, a Public Benefit Corporation specializing in the creation of shelter villages for homelessness and disaster response. So far, the city has not determined exactly where the shelters will sit. A report from CBS News says that Denver leaders are considering 11 different sites across the area. The sites will be reviewed and selected soon. The goal is to have 1,000 people off the streets by Christmas; these shelters are part of that goal. 

Shelters for fast, affordable housing

Pallet Shelters is creating these small, easily-constructed shelters that can be added quickly at minimal costs. The pallets are not intended to be permanent accommodations; they are relatively small and fit a single bed with a bit of remaining space. They are, essentially, a single room for one or two people. 

The shelters, which are often called “cabins,” are lockable and come with air conditioning and other comfort features. While the ultimate goal is eventually permanent housing (such as a single-family home or apartment), this solution is safer for the people experiencing homelessness as well as residents who have housing. 

This offsite building or tiny home approach has been successfully accomplished in other cities, such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where the community is helping veterans experiencing homelessness.

Adding “wrap around” services

people talking

Pallet Shelters is an organization that has a specific mission of creating shelters that reduce the homeless crisis. Their pallets are small, affordable, and convenient. But the company provides more than just the shelters; their services include case management from local service providers, meal access, hygiene facilities, and more. Those “wrap-around services” of mental health, food security, medical care, and safety are what more city leaders are looking to provide their homeless constituents to increase overall city safety. By having a company provide it, the city is increasing the social services available without impacting service to the community as a whole.

In the Harrisburg example above, that community is also adding “wrap-around services” to help their veterans, not just giving them shelter. Often the homeless are unhoused for a variety of reasons, including mental health issues. That support, offered with dignity, enables people to get counseling and other assistance to eventually get off the streets.

In addition, tiny homes or smaller shelters are more affordable than multi-family dwellings and faster to build while still enabling homeless communities to move together. In Denver, the mayor met with the unhoused and learned only by staying together would some homeless people consider moving from sidewalks to cabins.

Shelters and services — a successful combination?

Offsite construction is already proving to be more affordable and faster to build than traditional construction. Leaders across the country are turning to modular companies for more multi-family and single-family dwellings as a way to tackle the housing crisis. Even in the state of Colorado, Governor Polis has declared a state of emergency over housing. The state is looking to more offsite construction as well as doing what’s necessary (addressing permit issues, etc.) to make that building easier.

Adding support services is an interesting innovation and hopefully gets to the root cause of homelessness. People will be watching Harrisburg and Denver to see if this combination is successful in addressing the complex problem of homelessness.

We can help with your offsite construction projects  

Elevated applauds the efforts of Denver and Pallet Shelters to reduce the homeless issue impacting our city. We certainly hope it’s successful! We’re also thankful that state and city leaders across our country are looking to add construction to alleviate housing shortages.

Our company can help you! Elevated provides industrial supplies, appliances, windows, and more so your offsite construction project can meet aggressive timelines and budgets. We’ve been helping modular companies across the U.S. for 10+ years. It’s why we have ideas and advice even outside products.

Christopher Richmann
Author: Christopher Richmann
Kif Richmann is a professional writer and editor who has been creating content since 2011. With degrees in communication and journalism from The University of Iowa, Kif has been a full-time self-employed freelancer since 2014. Throughout his career, he has served numerous industries including manufacturing, real estate, technology, finance, healthcare, transportation, and education.
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