Elderly, Vulnerable Aloft Residents Facing the Streets & Shelters April 15th as the City Closes Last Protective Action Hotel
The Aloft Hotel, ironically re-branded by banners saying BE KIND, has served as a Protective Action Hotel for Denver’s most vulnerable elderly houseless people for almost 3 years now, and on April 15th the City is planning to close the hotel and start kicking residents out to the shelters and streets. Over the last few years, as other Protective Action Hotels closed, their residents deemed most susceptible to deadly co-morbidities in the face of Covid-19 were often moved into Aloft. Thus, current residents of Aloft are Denver’s most elderly, sick, and vulnerable.
Now, the City is closing down the hotel and forcing residents to go to mass congregate shelters – the very places many were originally sent from given their heightened health risks, leading to mass distress among residents.
On Thursday, March 23rd, Aloft residents received this notice slipped under their doors:
Many Aloft residents have shared in clear terms that they WILL NOT go to a shelter. Some residents have shared that, with their health conditions, a mass congregate shelter would likely be a slow death sentence.
This is not an exaggeration. One of the residents we spoke to had been hospitalized for 6 months following an infection he’d gotten while staying at Crossroads shelter, also run by Salvation Army. Another resident needs regular catheter changes. Many residents are in need of surgery, and require stable environments to recover – if they don’t have respite lined up, it’s likely that medical professionals would delay, or even refuse, to perform such surgeries because of the increased risk of infection and complications, as this is something that happens often to people in the shelters/streets. The simultaneous medical conditions that these residents already combat daily would be near impossible to treat in such packed, unstable, and unsanitary conditions as shelters.
Aloft currently houses 92 people.
Over the past couple weeks our HAND outreach team has been able to gather surveys from 30 residents (nearly one third, or 30% of all Aloft residents) about their plans and housing options after Aloft closes. Of these initial 30 residents, only 2 people have housing lined up, one of which is only able to because he’s paying market value for it. This is a very disturbing statistic!@#%
In January, HOST staff was quoted saying, “fortunately, we do have several months to work with our partners to ensure as many guests as possible are able to transition to a housing outcome.” Salvation Army staff was quoted saying, “our goal is that nobody exits into a shelter and everybody exits into something that is more appropriate than a shelter setting.”
Well, it’s almost April now, and residents are not lined up for housing – rather, the City and Salvation Army are telling them to go to shelters.
We need all hands on deck to ensure no Aloft residents are kicked to the shelters or streets where they may not survive!$*@!^
We need the City to step up and secure housing for every resident.
We need the Salvation Army to follow through on the goal for housing.
Everyone can play a part in making sure Denver is not throwing away the lives of nearly 100 elderly people.
If you would like to be connected to a current resident for an interview regarding this situation, please reach out to Housekeys Action Network Denver – 701-484-2634, firstname.lastname@example.org