We Are Denver Homeless Out Loud
Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) strives to stand for the rights of people who are experiencing homelessness. After surveying over 500 people who were experiencing homelessness at the end of the year 2012 in Denver about the effects of the urban camping ban, not surprisingly, the responses showed that the ban is not helping people sleep safely at night. The reality is that more people are entering less safe areas and experiencing further hardships. DHOL desires to make available more options of a place to call home and meet basic needs, and to stand for people’s right to exist in public space without being criminalized for doing so.
DHOL is a horizontal and consensus-based group. We don’t have a president, or any other single person who is in charge. Leadership is designated to point people who are given responsibility to lead particular jobs. Furthermore, leadership comes from all members who take initiative and responsibility to lead in many ways.
During each meeting we have a facilitator, a note taker, and a scribe. Each of these positions is filled by different people each week. We work through our agenda, after creating it, based on the priorities we have at the time. Sometimes when we are discussing issues we have someone take “stack”, which means that we speak in the order people raise their hands so that everyone is able to speak without the meeting becoming a free for all.
As a consensus-based group, decisions regarding DHOL are made after group discussion has led to an overall consensus on the decision. When making decisions as a group, we work toward consensus minus one (meaning all but one in the group, need to at least be ok with the decision). Individuals are free to decide for or against or stand aside or block any proposals made. While we welcome new members, a person attending for the first time doesn’t get a vote, but they are free and encouraged to speak during discussions.
We have various “working groups” that have been looking at the specific details of various projects. They are as follows:
We are working to create a small paper with a three-fold goal. The primary goal is to give homeless individuals a voice. Many of them want to be able to tell people why they are where they are at and the specific issues they are dealing with daily. Another goal would be to give the general public a better understanding of what homelessness is like. A third goal is to provide real time information to the people in the homeless community about services, events and meetings that affect their lives.
Join us in the endeavor! We meet Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:30am to 1:30pm on the first floor of the Auraria library (near the Discovery Wall). You may also email email@example.com or call the DHOL phone (720-415-2434).
Homeless Bill of Rights
Another item that we are helping to work toward is a Homeless Bill Of Rights (HBR) for the state of Colorado. These have passed in five state thus far (Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, Vermont,and Massachusetts) and are being pursued in many other states. These bills protect against discrimination based on housing status and further can hinder or halt laws that criminalize homelessness (e.g camping bans, sleeping in cars…).
Join us in this endeavor!
We are currently working toward this goal in two sub groups:
Information Gathering from people experiencing homelessness about what sh*t people are up against and what people on the front lines want to see in a potential Homeless Bill of Rights. This group meets every other Monday at 3pm at the Spaghetti Dinner (16th and Grant). Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the DHOL phone (720-415-2434) to get involved.
Stigma busting…(more info to come)
Urban Rest Stops
Anyone who spends two days living in public spaces will quickly learn of the vast lack of public places to use a toilet or shower. Furthermore, you will soon find that there are very few places where you can store your belongings while walking about town, looking for work, or whatnot. DHOL would like to address these needs by opening spaces around Denver with restrooms, showers, storage boxes, and laundry facilities.
Join us in this endeavor! Meeting schedule for this working group currently is in flux. Email us at email@example.com or call the DHOL phone (720-415-2434) to get involved.
One new, cheap, environmentally friendly, and empowering type of house that some cities are starting to build for people in need of a home are Tiny Homes. Tiny Homes are very small (e.g. 10 by 18ft) homes, that cost very little to build and maintain. With many empty lots all around Denver, and the minimal space which a Tiny Home takes, these could be put in clusters of 1-10 or more in various empty spaces around the city and provide homes for many. A couple of of DHOL members are beginning to build Tiny Homes for themselves to live in and as examples of what might be done.
Help out with this endeavor! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the DHOL phone (720-415-2434) to get involved.
DHOL is set up as an unincorporated organization. We are currently operating on a shoestring with the remains of an anonymous grant we received to conduct our Camping Ban Survey and produce the report. We are seeking grants and other funding from various sources, and we welcome contributions, which will enable us to cover our expenses and keep doing this work!
You can contact us by phone (720-415-2434) or email (email@example.com) to talk about this.
If you need help with bus fare in order to attend a DHOL meeting, we have bus tickets available from and to the next meeting. If you drive a car but need help with gas costs in order to come to a DHOL meeting we can assist with this cost. If you need a ride to a meeting please try to call the day before.
Our phone number is (720) 415-2434. Someone is available to answer your questions about Denver Homeless Out Loud.
We have two email lists that interested people may be added to. Anyone can be added to our “team” email list, which provides announcements about our activities. In order to be added to our “core team” email list someone needs to have come to at least one DHOL meeting (this email list has a high volume of emails). To be added to either of these lists, let us know at a meeting or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.