Over the last two days, Quality Inn residents, HAND together with Reciprocity Collective, CCH staff, and a bunch of helpers from the community scrambled to figure out where residents would go and how to get there. These past two days were filled with chaos, stress, and trauma, as well as collaboration and some temporary relief within a horribly wrong situation.
On Thursday morning, there were 40 residents going to housing, 15 going to other protective action hotels, 2 going to temporary hotels, and 81 going to streets, shelters, friends, cars, or the like. By the end of Friday, we as HAND got 6 more people in serious need into a hotel for a week and got CCH to match that week in a hotel bringing it to two weeks. We also identified others in the most desperate situations and worked with CCH to ensure another 10 people got into a hotel for a week paid for by CCH. During these next two weeks while these residents still have a safe room to live in, we in HAND together with Reciprocity Collective will be doing all we can to find permanent housing for them, hopefully in collaboration with CCH, and hopefully with the City stepping up to help secure critically needed housing for these vulnerable people.
We also gave out 20 tents and 13 sleeping bags to residents. We paid for one month of storage for 9 residents. We (as a board community of mutual aid who came to help!) supported 20 people with moving their property to storage, hotels, and housing. All of this in the last two days.
A huge thanks goes out to everyone who donated to the GoFundMe!! We surpassed our goal of $10,000 and used that money to pay for all the things just named! This had a huge impact in making this fucked hotel closure a little less tramatizing and devistating for residents. Also a huge thanks to all community members who spent the day hauling stuff, driving uhauls, packing, and all sorts of other help over the past two days!!
We are also grateful for the collaboration that grew with CCH staff over the past two days which enabled us to work together to give some residents safer places to be for a time, as well as connecting with our moving, storage, emergency camping gear, and other assistance.
The decision by CCH leadership and the City to close Quality Inn early and with no housing plan for 81 residents in place is devastating and life threatening for the residents getting kicked to the streets/shelters. It also put some CCH staff in an impossible position of trying to find housing or hotel options for very sick and disabled people in about a month with a lot of this navigation coming down to the last two days. CCH staff, nor us in HAND, should have had to scrabble like this just to try and ensure the most vulnerable are not landing on the streets. If Quality would have been kept open until the end of the year and that time was used to focus on finding and creating the needed housing for these residents this would not have had to happen.
Now 16 vulnerable displaced Quality residents are in hotels for 1 to 2 weeks (that we know of – waiting on CCH to publish their own numbers) and everyone must come together to ensure at the end of this time they don’t land back on the streets or shelters. Subtracting from the 81 without housing or hotels at the beginning of the week, these 16 along with another 19 individuals in protective action hotels, other temporary hotels, or bridge/ permanent housing, there are approximately 46 displaced Quality residents who were kicked out and now are on the streets, shelters, cars, with friends or in other dangerous, less than safe or stable situations who need housing. Again, this number is pending verification from CCH.
We cannot call this “case closed” and let these Quality residents be forgotten and treated like houseless people often are – inevitable collateral in this profit-based house-hoarding society – a treatment which no one should have to experience. We must now kick into gear as a whole city to secure housing for these folks. The best way for this to happen is for the City to take some responsibility and create the housing these people need so that displaced Quality residents, CCH, HAND, Reciprocity Collective, and the community are not scrambling to squeeze these people in the very limited low-income housing that exists with massive waitlists and processes that will not work. We need the City to step up to the plate now and tell Denver that these Quality people matter.
Onward towards housing for all…
Housekeys Action Network Denver
Towards rights, dignity, housing…