[Hpn] DENVER, CO - Panel hears suggestion for Coors Field as homeless shelter - KUSA 9 TV News - November 3, 2003

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Tue, 4 Nov 2003 05:00:36 -0500


Panel hears suggestion for Coors Field as homeless shelter

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by Jeannie Piper - KUSA 9 TV News -  November 3, 2003

DENVER (AP) - Using the city's major league baseball stadium as a
homeless shelter in the winter was one of several ideas floated
at the first meeting of a city commission on homelessness on
Monday.

Another suggestion was to bus the homeless people from downtown
to the Adams County Fairgrounds near Brighton, about 20 miles
northwest.

The ideas came during a brainstorming session of a 36-member
commission appointed by Mayor John Hickenlooper to find solutions
to homelessness in Denver.

Denver's homeless population jumped from 1,985 in 1990 to 9,725
in 2003, a study by the Denver Homeless Planning Group said.

The problem was exacerbated when a 100-bed shelter at the First
Baptist Church near downtown closed for a church renovation.

"These were ideas tossed out to deal with short-term issues of
the loss of a homeless shelter in Denver," said John Parvensky,
executive director of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless,
which is part of the commission.

Parvensky and others at the meeting couldn't recall who suggested
sheltering homeless people at Coors Field, the home of the
Colorado Rockies.

Rockies officials did not return telephone messages seeking
comment. Sarah Elliott, a spokeswoman for Hickenlooper, said she
wasn't familiar with the suggestion and couldn't comment.

Debra Herz, a member of the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium Board,
which oversaw construction of the taxpayer-financed stadium, said
the shelter suggestion would have to have the approval of the
Rockies.

City Councilman Charlie Brown, a member of the commission,
suggested busing the homeless to the Adams County Fairgrounds.

"We're losing conventions because of panhandlers in downtown
Denver," Brown said. "This is not just Denver's problem, but a
regional problem."

(Copyright 2003 by the Associated Press.)
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