Homeless residents moving into a new safe outdoor space with the hope of moving

Just off Second Ave and Federal Blvd, a new safe outdoor space is giving homeless people in Denver a chance to thrive.

“On hot days like this, it’s a little oasis,” said Amanda Pennington, development associate at the St. Francis Center. “Each resident has their own tent with shade, a fan, drinking water, space to eat and drink.”

Pennington says the Barnum Safe Outdoor Space is a joint effort with the Colorado Village Collaborative.

“Denver is becoming a model and the city and the people of Denver and other cities are seeing that it’s working, it’s a success,” Pennington said.

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(credit: CBS)


Ismael Abdullah is a living success story.

“I became homeless during the first COVID lockdown – a lot of people lost their jobs, l. I lost my job. I used to work in city security,” Abdullah recounted to CBS4’s Mekialaya White. “My mentality was, I’ll go through it. It won’t be easy, but I’m not afraid.”

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(credit: CBS)


And he says that during the years he was on the streets, he persevered. Often, he was not sure he could spend the night.

“I remember one time when there was a really big snowstorm and I woke up and it was really cold. There was snow on the edge of my blanket. I was like, ‘wow’ , you know?”

Pennington says that’s why the organizations designed this space, to bring humanity back to people and help them prepare for the next stage of life.

“Everyone is human and everyone deserves dignity and respect and sleeping on the street is dehumanizing and does not bring dignity or respect, but gives someone a space of their own where they can access support and community and the basic things we take for granted,” says Pennington.

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(credit: CBS)


Abdullah encourages anyone in a similar situation to use SOS resources. They helped him move towards a stable housing situation, which he is in the process of obtaining.

“Don’t give up, don’t give up, hang in there and don’t be too proud to ask for help. If you join the program and take advantage of the resources, the staff here will open their arms for you, they will go above and beyond because they did this for me.”

Currently there are 30 residents at Barnum SOS with space for 53 people. To find out how to become a resident, click here: http://www.sfcdenver.org