Change is constant and unsettling. Our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness or staring at the brink of homelessness know this all too well. Maybe you, too, are a missed paycheck away from finding your housing in peril. The booming real estate market is tearing through neighborhoods – raising rents and pushing out longtime neighbors in the name of gentrification. The threat of housing insecurity is real. Updated zoning regulation is a viable solution.

The Delores Project operates a small shelter for women and transgender folks experiencing homelessness. Our facility is part of an integrated site featuring a shelter, supportive housing and affordable, workforce housing. With 60 beds, our staff work closely with our shelter guests, supporting them through case management and rehousing services. Our shelter guests engage with the community just as any good neighbor would. Recently, guests and residents have helped a lost dog find a home, helped neighbors jumpstart cars with dead batteries and provided impromptu childcare.

Group living changes under the new proposal open the door for agencies like The Delores Project to establish similar small shelters throughout Denver. Our service model offers higher case manager to guest ratios, leading to greater stability and success in future housing.

Nobody wants to see our unhoused neighbors struggle on the streets. This summer’s challenge at Morey Middle School clearly shows the need in our community. It is time to stand together and take real steps to change things in Denver. Speak with your neighbors on Capitol Hill, and call your city council member, Chris Hinds, and encourage him to approve the revised group living regulations. We must share the burden of lifting up people who need help across the city, on Cap Hill and beyond. Together we can meet everyone’s basic needs.

Robin Wood-Mason, director of development and communications for The Delores Project