Letter to Governor Polis Sent Demanding Housing Be Opened for Houseless
After filing a Writ of Mandamus on April 1st 2020, today we sent a letter to Governor Polis demanding he take the action laid out in the Mandamus to open up existing empty housing for Coloradans currently unable to “stay at home” as they are without a home living in mass congregate shelters and on the streets. This letter is signed by 46 (and growing) organizations across Colorado who know housing is both necessary and possible in this crisis. (You can still sign on here!)
The Governor of Colorado, now Governor Jared Polis, has the explicit authority in a state of emergency to “commandeer or utilize any private property if the governor finds this necessary to cope with the disaster emergency;” and to “Make provision for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing C.R.S. 24-33.5-704(7)(i).”
There are about 19,452 unoccupied housing units in Denver. Plus, as the COVID crisis has largely stopped travel, the large majority of hotel rooms are sitting empty – between apartments and hotels there is plenty to house all those without housing in Colorado.
The Governor of Connecticut was the first to use his authority to order vacant housing be used for those who are homeless in this emergency. It can be done.
Opening new congregate shelters with more space, or putting those showing symptoms in hotels, does not stop the spread of this virus. Everyone must have a home to be able to stay at home.
Governor Polis must use this authority NOW to issue an order for vacant houses, apartments, or hotels to be opened up for people without housing at this time.