By Eric Heinz
Colorado Village Collaborative (CVC) is in the process of moving the tiny home project Welcome Village to its new location on city-owned land at 4001 Monroe St. in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. Welcome Village is expected to reopen Feb. 13.
The tiny home village, which includes 14 sleeping units, a staff office, and a community center that includes bathrooms and a kitchen, will be located next to Beloved Community Village, which moved to the neighborhood in June.
“We appreciate all the support we received from our neighbors at Welcome Village’s last location at 37th Avenue and York Street in the Cole neighborhood,” Dorothy Leyba, CVC’s tiny home village program director, said. “We also look forward to working with our neighbors in Elyria-Swansea to continue developing positive relationships and to contribute to a strong and caring community.”
CVC said it worked to move Welcome Village participants into stable housing before the move. Across the two villages, 41 people were served in 2022. Formerly known as the Women’s Village and serving women and transgender people, the tiny home village was renamed Welcome Village to be more inclusive of the community members CVC serves. On any given night, CVC stated at least one-third of the more than 4,000 people experiencing homelessness in Denver are women or transgender, but fewer services exist to serve this portion of the population.
According to the city of Denver, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are more likely to sleep unsheltered, and the number of women seeking shelter tripled during the pandemic. Both the Welcome Village and Beloved Community Village are open to adults ages 18 and older.
“Tiny homes are a good model for connecting folks who have been living outdoors to stabilizing services and helping to transition individuals to permanent housing,” said Britta Fisher, the executive director of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability. “This shelter alternative is making a difference in the lives of dozens of Denver residents.”
Denver is leasing a one-acre parcel of land to CVC to house Welcome Village for two years with an option to renew the lease annually for two years. The village, which formerly was located on East 37th Avenue in the Cole/Clayton neighborhood, will expand by five units in May thanks to the work of Cherry Creek Innovation Campus students and instructors in the school’s Infrastructure Engineering pathway, CVC stated. The students created the units as part of a class project.
Additional partners with the tiny home projects include Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., architectural firm SAR+, and Shopworks Architecture. Operated by CVC, tiny home villages provide a safe, dignified and alternative sheltering model for people coming from unsheltered homelessness in Denver. The goal of the villages is to bridge the gap between the streets and stable housing.