Life-threatening temperatures rolled into the Denver metro area again in late February, prompting local authorities and community organizations to open their doors for people without homes.
Programs for overnight shelter during cold weather vary across the Denver area, and some have different criteria for when they open.
At least 263 unhoused individuals died in the Denver metro area from Nov. 1, 2021, to Oct. 31, 2022, according to a report by the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Some died of “environmental exposure,” and many of the deaths occurred outdoors.
Here’s a look at the shelter programs in Denver and nearby counties. Many of these resources are ongoing.
For shelter elsewhere in Colorado, contact your local city or county human services department and ask about any available shelter and other resources in your area.
Jefferson and west Arapahoe counties
Lakewood has opened its own emergency overflow shelter for the unhoused needing a warm place — a program the city says is new. Whitlock Recreation Center was to be open overnight two days, Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. It’s located at 1555 N. Dover St., just north of Colfax Avenue and several blocks west of Wadsworth Boulevard.
Also serving Jefferson County — and the Englewood-Littleton area — is the Severe Weather Shelter Network, which requires registration. See swshelternetwork.com/get-help or contact 720-515-9313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The network operates Oct. 1-April 30 when it is 20 degrees or below and dry — or 32 degrees and below when rain or snowfall is predicted during overnight hours.
Giving Heart Englewood, a homeless-resource center, offers a warm environment for people to wait for transportation to the overnight shelter in life-threatening weather. It operates as a “warming site” on severe weather nights at 6 p.m.
Giving Heart also offers computer use; clothing and hygiene items; help with getting IDs, driver licenses, and birth or death certificates; and help with Medicaid health care. You can also use its address to receive mail, applications or benefits.
For non-severe-weather services, Giving Heart is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
It sits at 4358 S. Broadway, about eight blocks south of Hampden Avenue and just south of Quincy Avenue. Call 720-460-0953, see givingheartenglewood.com or email email@example.com for more info.
In the Evergreen area of Jeffco, the EChO overnight emergency shelter operates from 6 p.m.-6 a.m. October to May. For more information and to register, call 303-670-1796.
Individuals needing shelter when EChO is closed should call the sheriff non-emergency line at 303-277-0211 or call the shelter hotline at 720-598-2653 and leave a message, according to Evergreen Christian Outreach’s website. A shelter representative will call you back, according to the site.
See more info at tinyurl.com/EvergreenShelter.
The Adams County Severe Weather Activation Program takes effect when the temperature drops lower than 33 degrees with rain or snow — or 21 degrees and dry, according to the county’s website.
The program’s assessment process may include referral to shelter, a hotel or motel stay, or severe weather supplies.
When the program is active, people seeking services should visit Crossroads Community Center at 10451 N. Huron St. in Northglenn — at 104th Avenue a few blocks west of Interstate 25 — from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., or visit almosthomeonline.org/swap, contact SWAP@almosthomeonline.org or call 720-409-8988.
Hotel vouchers are provided to people experiencing homelessness in Douglas County through nonprofit partners throughout the year, according to county spokesperson Wendy Holmes.
For Douglas County women and children specifically, the Winter Shelter Network of churches provides shelter after registration, every night during winter months regardless of weather conditions. See wintershelternetwork.org/get-assistance for more information.
Douglas County's homelessness response team refers people to those partners for assistance. Call the county’s Homeless Engagement, Assistance and Resource Team, or HEART, at 303-660-7301 if you need assistance.
The Aurora Day Resource Center is a 24/7 shelter during certain times of winter. "No one will be turned away," the website says.
The center activates overnight shelter when it’s below 20 degrees, generally with some kind of precipitation, according to a worker who identified as a “care navigator.”
The location was offering overnight shelter Feb. 23, the navigator confirmed.
The center sits at 13387 E. 19th Place, a few blocks north of Colfax and a couple blocks west of Interstate 225 — north of Children's Hospital. Call 303-343-7808, text WARMUP to 313131 or see comitiscrisiscenter.org/aurora-day-resource-center for more info.
An organization called Aurora Warms the Night also provides cold-weather shelter for people experiencing homelessness, its website says. Contact 303-343-0537 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or see aurorawarmsthenight.org for more info.
The organization has “office hours” 6-9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and 2-6 p.m. Sundays, according to its website. Its address is 9360 E. Colfax Ave., several blocks east of Yosemite Street, in Aurora.
The City of Denver opened Rude Recreation Center — at 2855 W. Holden Place, just east of Federal Boulevard and a bit south of Colfax — for overnight shelter Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.
People who need shelter can also visit what the city calls “front door” facilities, which offer walk-up access and can refer — and sometimes transport — people to other shelters. What the city calls “walk up only” centers do not refer people to other facilities.
For individual men, one front door location is Lawrence Street Community Center at Lawrence Street and Park Avenue West in the downtown area. It’s open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, but the city suggests arriving before 6 p.m. for transportation to other locations. Call 303-294-0157 for more info.
For individual women, a front door location is Samaritan House at 2301 Lawrence St., near that same intersection, open from 4:30 p.m.- 7:30 a.m. daily. The city suggests arriving between 4 and 4:30 p.m. for shelter or transportation to other locations. Call 303-294-0241 for more info.
For resources for others — youth ages 15-20, families with minor children, people experiencing domestic violence, or transgender individuals — see the city’s webpage for more info at tinyurl.com/DenverShelterList.
Denver had opened other emergency shelter earlier this winter, including the McNichols Civic Center Building at 144 W. Colfax Ave., near North Broadway, which operated as a “24/7 warming shelter” for a period in January.
On Feb. 22 and Feb. 23, all currently operating Denver recreation centers and Denver public libraries were to be available during regular operating hours for anyone who needed a place to stay warm during the day.
In the “seven-county” metro area — including around the Denver area but also the Boulder and Broomfield communities — dial 211 for a multilingual and confidential service that can connect you to shelter, food, rent assistance, child care and more resources in your area. Or text your ZIP code to 898-211 or scroll down to "live chat" at unitedwaydenver.org/community-programs/2-1-1.
In general, if you're in extreme cold and can't find shelter through the above resources, call 911. (Or, in Denver specifically, the police non-emergency number is 720-913-2000.)