Blink & You Probably Missed It: A U.S. Mega-Shelter

Denver Coliseum photo by Jeffrey Beall is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Yes, it gets cold in the Mile-High-City, Denver Colorado. And yes, in Denver, like many American cities, the number of people who have no home is growing. It’s not just a problem caused by evictions of long-standing citizens who can no longer afford a home. It is also a crisis of migrants who have crossed into America through the porous southern border and are spreading to emergency shelters across the country.

The ‘Blink and you probably missed it’ was a two week trial run of a 24-7 shelter big enough to manage large numbers of people who are unhoused: the Denver Coliseum.

Media coverage of Denver’s experiment might trigger memories from 18 years ago when Hurricane Katrina ‘unhoused’ so many Louisiana residents. Read this report, which came out eight years on, in Houston Public Media: 10 Years Since Katrina: When The Astrodome Was A Mass Shelter

Reports about opening and closing the Denver Coliseum echo some of Houston’s experience. Three news outlets report on the Denver mega-shelter experiment’s brief life from anticipation of its opening, through its all-too-brief existence, to closing. The coverage highlights some of the unique benefits when a large shelter with supports operated, temporarily, 24/7:

FOX31: Denver Coliseum to open this week as 24-hour shelter

The Denver Gazette: Denver Coliseum transforms to unhoused shelter in between events