Aloft Residents Speak to City Council: Action Needed to House Every Aloft Resident!!!
Yesterday, nine residents of Aloft who are being kicked out at the end of the month and have been told to go to shelters – the very places they were transferred from due to health complications related to shelters – spoke to City Council to make their demand for housing! Residents stood together to make their collective voice heard: Not One Resident Kicked to Nowhere! Not! One!
Residents spoke of their health conditions and vulnerabilities, making a private room with a door and a bathroom necessary for their survival. One resident shared how he has to plug in a breathing machine at night – something you cannot do at a shelter. Another shared how he has a leg condition that requires privacy to sleep at night. Another shared how he is HIV+ with a weakened immune system, and fears what would happen at a shelter. One resident shared how he reached out to the shelter to secure a bed, but was told he could not stay there with his school schedule, as he could not return each night until after the 8pm curfew.
Yesterday, the City announced that there have been 30 State housing vouchers secured and 38 other housing options secured. This is a positive development in housing options for Aloft residents!
However, this leaves the remaining 19+ residents to be discarded like trash, sent to die at the shelters or on the streets. These residents, many of whom spoke to Council yesterday, cannot be thrown away and told “sorry, we secured housing for most residents… Your life just doesn’t matter enough.”
Residents who are being left out the most include immigrants without citizenship paperwork and people who don’t speak English (who have had the least information communicated to them regarding closure and their options), people with felonies, and people who are working minimum wage and not making enough to afford housing. These residents still have the health conditions that initially qualified them for Aloft. They still need housing like everyone else.
In addition to the 19 people identified by the City as “not worthy” of housing, there are some who are counted as having housing options, but in reality do not. We work closely with at least three residents who have been pushed to housing that will not work for them. For example, one resident was pushed to sign a lease on a place that is $1,000 per month, not including utilities nor the $400 deposit, when he can earn a maximum of $1,400 per month. He would not be able to sustain living there, and would soon face an eviction. There was no work being done to attempt to address this error until HAND intervened and advocated for a better solution. Another resident was pushed to rent a place for $800 per month when he makes just over $900 per month. Folks in these situations need to be put back in the list of people needing housing and continued work must be done to find affordable housing for these residents.
There are just over two weeks left until the closure at the end of the month. These residents need HOST to step up and commit to ensuring them the same housing every Aloft resident needs. The City cannot just throw some people away like trash, saying they can’t do anything. They can. The City is paying for extended hotel stays for the 30 residents who were granted State vouchers, and they can provide the same hotel stay for the 19+ residents who do not yet have vouchers/housing until housing can be secured.
Email the Denver Office of Housing Stability (HOST) and demand Housing for all Aloft Residents! Email Director Laura Brudzynski Laura.Brudzynski@denvergov.org and Communications director Sabrina Allie Sabrina.Allie@denvergov.org