Deaths at Salvation Army Shelter Revealed as a Citywide Issue

Denver, Colorado – The Salvation Army in Denver is addressing a concerning trend of deaths at a former hotel being used as a shelter for the homeless. The organization is attributing the fatalities to existing issues within encampments around the city that have now become more concentrated in one location.

Over the past four months, there have been nearly 500 calls to the police regarding incidents at the former DoubleTree hotel off Interstate 70 and Quebec Street. The situation escalated when two individuals were found shot to death inside the hotel-turned-shelter on March 16, prompting the implementation of new security measures.

Nesan Kistan, a divisional commander with the Salvation Army, acknowledged that deaths, including overdoses, have occurred at the shelter. According to data from the Denver Medical Examiner’s Office, a total of 7 individuals have died at the DoubleTree shelter since the beginning of the year, with most cases still under investigation.

Following the tragic events, the city of Denver intervened to take over security at the shelter, a decision that Kistan claims was a result of discussions with city leadership. The Salvation Army had initially transferred security responsibilities to the city, which included a contract worth $808,000 to enhance security protocols.

In response to the incidents, the city has stationed security officers at each shelter entrance and is in the process of implementing a badging system with photo ID cards for residents and staff. The new security plan, which includes increased surveillance both inside and outside the building, aims to restrict access and enhance safety for all individuals at the shelter.

Despite the stricter security measures, Kistan emphasized that the facilities are not intended to operate like prisons. He highlighted the organization’s goal of transforming lives and providing a supportive environment for individuals experiencing homelessness. Kistan remains firm in his decision to relinquish security control to the city, stating that it was in the best interest of all parties involved.