CourtsHomelessnessHot Sheet

Court rules against homeless-advocacy group in Lakewood land fight

Author: Adam McCoy - June 29, 2018 - Updated: June 29, 2018

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The Federal Center in Lakewood (en.wikipedia.org)

The federal government will move forward with the sale of a 59-acre parcel in Lakewood after a homeless advocacy group lost a court battle to cease the auction.

The U.S. District Court of Colorado this week ruled against the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), denying a request to stop the auction of the public land near the Federal Center, the Lakewood Sentinel reports.

The court ruling followed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rejecting the CCH’s plans for a sweeping campus for the homeless after reportedly finding issues with its financing proposal.

CCH’s preliminary plans for the site included a solar-powered campus with trailers, geodesic domes and tents as an initial build-out, eventually adding some 600 affordable and supportive housing units.

The group said in a statement reported by the Sentinel it was disappointed by the decision, but the real losers “are the homeless families and individuals in Lakewood and Jefferson County who remain without adequate housing and services.”

CCH’s plans for the site have vexed Lakewood officials and some residents who have argued the advocacy group needs to find a more appropriate setting for its proposed homeless campus, the campus would stretch city resources like police thin and that it could attract what one resident at the time called “mentally ill people, drug addicts and who knows what else, all of whom have been chased out of Denver,” to the city.

The recent court battle mirrored an earlier one where CCH sued the U.S. General Services Administration, the government’s landlord, to stop sale of the site. It argued that letting sale of the land proceed as planned effectively would sidestep a 1987 law that requires the agency make the land available for serving the homeless. CCH eventually won that battle, and the site was declared suitable for use by the homeless.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.