New at Colorado homeless shelters: Reservations required and shorter stays

Two Colorado cities are trying new approaches to their homeless shelters.

In Boulder, you’ll now be required to register in advance to stay at the wintertime shelter, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. The shelter does not have enough beds for everyone who wants to stay; in the past, the shelter has run a lottery to see who gets in.

The result: Some people may find out as late as 7 p.m. that they won’t have a bed for the night. Now, people can pre-register in the morning and then check the shelter’s website at noon to see if they’ll be admitted, as Alex Burness reports for the Camera.

That may be easier for some folks, but the Camera details a major concern: Phone and internet access is far from universal among homeless people.

Either way, this is a good demonstration of the fact that Boulder has very limited shelter capacity. City leaders are planning for a permanent day facility, but a rotating group of churches and synagogues will continue to pick up the overflow from the main overnight shelter.

Meanwhile, one of the major shelters in Grand Junction is trying out a new way to keep people moving. Until now, people could use HomewardBound for 180 days per year. The new limit is 90 days, as the Grand Junction Sentinel reports.

The idea is to put more pressure on people to become self-sufficient; shelter staff also say they’re bringing their policies closer to what’s typical for shelters.

“It’s time to get the info out so they can make good decisions and not be frozen,” the shelter’s director told the newspaper.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email