Residents in Hotels on Path to Housing upon Closure!!
We are thrilled to announce that yesterday the final two Aloft residents, Juilo and Alberto who we asked for the community’s support in advocating for, got a commitment from the State for housing vouchers and the City agreed to bridge them in a hotel like everyone else!! This means that NO Aloft resident was kicked to the shelters or streets due to the closure!! This is a huge testament to what is possible when everyone comes together toward a housing goal and puts their resources toward housing!
There is no longer need for moving support today (Thursday) so cancel your plans to come today if you were planning to come!
Comparing this Aloft closure to the Quality Inn closure, we can see what could have happened at Quality where at least 40 residents were kicked to the streets and shelters. After all the attention and fight we had at Quality to house residents upon the closure, Aloft key leaders saw this and clearly did not want the same thing to happen at Aloft. There was significantly more attention and effort to do right in this Aloft closure.
That said, at the beginning of when we started organizing at Aloft, in March, HOST staff and Salvation Army staff both told us there was no promise of housing upon moving into Aloft and residents will likely need to go to shelters upon the closure. This sentiment continued from HOST staff until almost the very end.
Nonetheless, we continued to organize with residents and stay committed to the goal that no resident be kicked to the shelters or streets. We held weekly meetings with Aloft residentes where there was consensus among residents to demand housing or hotels with bathrooms and ability to heat and store food until they find housing. Together with residents we stuck to this demand. We connected with 65 of the 97 Aloft residents and worked closely with many to continually push that each resident get proper hotel and housing.
Huge credit and thanks is due to one lead Salvation Army staff who shared the commitment from the beginning to work toward this housing goal and to collaborate with us in this work. This collaboration led to housing pathways for many residents who would have otherwise been left behind. This Aloft success would not have been possible without this staff’s commitment to keep pushing for housing.
The biggest game changer in this closure was the State coming through in securing housing vouchers for residents. Thanks to State leaders for pushing this through. Thanks to Reciprocity Collective for helping make this happen and advocating for an accessible path defining disability.
Another game changer here was the City agreeing to pay for bridge hotel stays at other hotels until all residents find housing with their vouchers. At the Quality Inn closure we as HAND paid for 14 residents hotel stays until we got the City to agree to pick up the bill until they got into housing. This time around the City agreed right away to pay for bridge hotel stays. Thanks to HOST staff for paying for these necessary hotel stays.
All this said, it is critical to remember, none of these hotel and housing options were gonna be opened until pressure was put on the City and State to do this. Many residents were headed to the streets and shelters until we were able to intervene in individual situations. And all the Spanish Speaking undocumented residents were going to be kicked to SOS sites with no housing pathway until we persisted in speaking up for these men. Collective power with the direction of residents is necessary for the powers that be to do the right thing.
Most of all, thanks to all the Aloft reisnets for speaking up and standing together to demand the housing all need.
There is still work to be done. The hotel stays are only for around 2 to 3 months. Everyone will need to find housing with their vouchers in that time. There is need for support at one of the hotels where no or limited food is provided. And there are many issues standing including how many residents were doubled up in rooms, lack of refrigerators, pending closure of Park Ave hotel where many residents moved, and more. Stay tuned for more calls for action…
Housekeys Action Network Denver
Towards rights, dignity, housing…