Six lockers more than 7 feet tall are scheduled for installation next week at the Durango Transit Center, a pilot project funded, in part, by the city to give people living homeless a secure place to keep their stuff.
The Neighbors in Need Alliance, a faith-based group working to address issues related to homelessness, worked with La Junta-based manufacturers in the past few months to design and build the steel lockers, said Caroline Kinser, an organizer with the group.
The project cost $12,700, which the group raised with the help of $6,000 from the city of Durango. The city also offered a concrete pad at the Durango Transit Center where the lockers can be installed.
The lockers, built by DeBourgh All-American Lockers, are 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 72 inches tall, said Project Manager Jay Bender. They’re built of galvanized steel and painted the color of juniper – a dark green designed to match the existing pillars and awnings – and will have vents, an 11-inch-high angled top and 4 inches of stainless steel at the base, he said.
A permanent awning over the lockers should protect the storage units from most of the elements – but they’re not a sealed box. No electronics were put into the lockers; even the multi-user locking mechanism – which allows users to chose their own four-digit code that refreshes after each use – works by machinery rather than electricity, Bender said.
While people living homeless in Durango may be looking forward to an opportunity for safe storage, community activist Richard Dilworth said there is a clear need for more than six storage units.
But Dilworth recognizes the experimental nature of the pilot project and said, “There are definitely people looking forward to not having to carry so much back and forth from town.”
The goal of installing secure and public lockers is to make life easier on people living homeless. Transportation and storage were two of the top needs the Neighbors in Need Alliance identified after surveying the community, Kinser said.
NINA expects the lockers will be installed Tuesday and plans a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon Friday, Feb. 28.