Have an opinion you want to share? The Denver North Star is now accepting letters to the editor!
Please send your letter of 250 words or fewer, along with your name and the neighborhood you live in, to David@DenverNorthStar.com. Letters must be received by the 3rd of the month to run in that month’s issue. Preference will be given to letters focused on North Denver specific subjects.
If you’re interested in discussing a longer guest column, please email ahead of time to discuss that possibility as well. We look forward to hearing from you!
Denver Urban Gardens Sale
As you may have heard, Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) made the difficult decision to sell part of the land on which El Oasis Community Garden sits in Northwest Denver, while about one-third of the land will remain a community garden in perpetuity. We came to this decision after careful consideration of our financial situation, the state of philanthropy, and the uncertainties related to the pandemic. This decision was not made quickly or lightly; many alternatives were explored by DUG’s staff and board members.
We understand that the El Oasis community is hurting, and we are truly sorry for that. Some members of the community are taking actions aimed at preventing the sale of the portion of land that is under contract. We ask them to instead invest their energy in helping us write the next chapter of DUG.
The coronavirus has demonstrated that now, more than ever, growing one’s own food provides resilience, yet many people do not have access to growing space or the know-how to cultivate a garden. DUG’s goal is to continue to serve our entire community of gardeners throughout metro Denver, many of whom rely on the land, seeds/seedlings and education DUG provides to feed their families and their communities.
If this sale does not close as planned, DUG will cease to exist as it does today because the organization would be on a path to winding down operations. If that happens, 17,500 DUG gardeners will be at risk without a place to grow food. This decision reflects our goal to ensure everyone who needs access to growing space has it. You can learn more at dug.org/el-oasis-facts.
Our team is committed to stewarding DUG into our next chapter through a community-centered approach, and we ask for your support as we do so. Learn more about DUG’s work and impact at dug.org/impact.
Karen Good, Ramonna Robinson, Melissa Rosas ~ Northwest Denver Residents and Denver Urban Gardens Board Members
Change is both constant and unsettling. Our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness or staring at the brink of homelessness know that feeling all too well. Maybe you, too, are a missed paycheck or two away from finding your housing in peril. Amidst a booming real estate market that is tearing through neighborhoods – raising rents, building expensive new homes, pushing out longtime neighbors in the name of gentrification – the threat of housing insecurity is real. Denver needs updated zoning regulations to meet the challenge of this moment.
The Delores Project operates a small shelter for women and transgender folks experiencing homelessness. Our facility is part of an integrated site featuring not only a shelter, but also supportive housing and affordable, workforce housing. With 60 beds, our staff work closely with our shelter guests, supporting them through case management and rehousing services. During their time with us, our shelter guests engage with the community just as any good neighbor would. In the last 6 months, guests and residents have helped a lost dog find a home, helped neighbors jumpstart cars with dead batteries, changed tires, and provided impromptu childcare.
Group living changes under the new proposal do more than just increasing the number of people allowed to live in the same house or apartment. The new rules will open the door for agencies like The Delores Project to establish similar small shelters throughout Denver. Our service model offers higher case manager to guest ratios, leading to greater stability and success in future housing.
Nobody wants to see our unhoused neighbors struggle on the streets. Keeping our public spaces open, clean, and safe for everybody is vital. So it is time to stand together and take real steps to change things in Denver. We implore you to speak with your neighbors in North Denver and West Colfax and call your city council members, Amanda Sandoval and Jamie Torres, encouraging them to approve the revised group living regulations. We must share the burden of lifting up people who need help across the city. Together we can meet everyone’s basic needs.
The Delores Project provides safe, comfortable shelter and personalized services for unaccompanied women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness. We also work to end homelessness by advocating for housing solutions.
The Delores Project