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Housing

Residents of Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood sue to stop legal homeless site from opening in church parking lot

The legal encampments are meant to be cleaner and more stable environments for those experiencing a lack of shelter.

Some residents in the Denver neighborhood of Park Hill are suing a nonprofit, a church and its pastor, and the city of Denver in an effort to prevent a legal homeless encampment from opening.

The complaint filed Thursday in Denver District Court argues the site poses a danger to children, does not meet city requirements and “does not address the impact it will have on the neighborhood,” The Denver Post reported.

The encampment is planned in the parking lot of the Park Hill United Methodist Church, which is also named in the lawsuit alongside lead pastor Nathan Adams.

Attorneys Heather Anderson Thomas and Douglas Baier filed the lawsuit on behalf of residents Kurt Monigle, Dave Rodman, Jean-Baptiste Varnier, Justin Lovacand Blair Taylor.

The lawyers did not return a message from the newspaper seeking comment.

The legal encampments are meant to be cleaner and more stable environments for those experiencing a lack of shelter. Organizations also work to connect people who stay there with mental health and addiction services.

Colorado Village Collaborative Executive Director Cole Chandler called the suit baseless.

Denver spokesman Mike Strott said the city understands the concerns, fears and questions raised by residents and will continue to partner with the Colorado Village Collaborative to address them.

“We stand proudly with the CVC — it will take a whole-of-city approach to deliver safer, healthier and more dignified options to our unhoused neighbors than living on the streets,” he said.

Chandler said he wants to open the Park Hill site, which should have room for up to 50 people, by early June.

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