The Aloft Denver Downtown hotel can be seen at 15th Street and Stout Street on Monday, June 6, 2022, in Denver, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/The Denver Gazette)

Denver City Council postponed its vote on whether to extend the city’s use of 140 rooms at a downtown hotel for the high-risk homeless population.

Council member Deborah Ortega requested the council postpone the vote because she was not present for the topic discussion at committee and wants more time to digest information around the project before voting on it. A city council rule gives members the right to request a postponement without a motion or vote. 

Ortega said she had additional questions about how the city will help transition folks once this program does end, and she wants to make sure the city's general fund won't be impacted when federal funding stops. 

The resolution would extend the Emergency Occupancy Agreement with JBK Hotels LLC, which runs the Aloft Hotel, another six months through the end of 2022. The city began providing food and shelter at the hotel at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with a recent uptick in cases, the city wants to continue providing this option to the most vulnerable should they contract the virus. Many staying at Aloft are older and use wheelchairs or walkers, oxygen tanks or have severe health conditions. 

The agreement for the rooms would cost the city at most $13.3 million at the rate of $95 per day per room. An additional agreement for food services will cost at most $3.3 million at the rate of $25 per day per room for three meals. The city is also responsible for cleaning rooms and providing security and has additional contracts with entities that provide these services.

Britta Fisher, Denver's Chief Housing Officer, said the postponement will be cutting it close to the end of the current contract date, but that nobody should be displaced from their shelter because of the postponement. 

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