Monitoring the Denver City Council process and actions related to the ordinance criminalizing homelessness.
Tuesday, October 9, 1:30 pm:
Monday, May 14, 5:30 pm:
City Council: Final consideration, City Council Chambers in the City and County Building 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado 80202
Monday, April 30, 5:30 pm:
City Council: First reading with two-hour courtesy public hearing | Part 2, City Council Chambers, Room 450, in the City and County Building 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado 80202
Tuesday, April 24, 10:30 am:
Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, action item and vote, Room 391, City and County Building 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado, 80202
Tuesday, April 24, 9:30 am:
Mayor-Council Meeting, City Council will meet with the Mayor, Room 389, City and County Building 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado, 80202
Thursday, April 19, 3:30 pm:
Denver Homeless Commission, Parr-Widener Community Room, City and County Building 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado 80202
Tuesday, April 17, 1:30 pm:
Health, Safety, Education & Services Committee, Room 391, City and County Building 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado 80202
- Councilwoman Robin Kniech, At-Large, “The [homeless] person says I am moving on. I’m walking away. So what happens next from an officer’s perspective? The outreach officer says, where are you going to go? Let’s assume we start in Downtown Denver. It is how many miles to the city and county boundary? We know they are not heading to a bed. So is the officer following the individual? Or let’s say the individual says, I am going to sleep at the river. This idea of move along, it worked with sit and lie, because we were talking about a fixed geographic area. I’m trying to understand how the interaction between the office and the individual occurs. Where is the move along to in this ordinance?” (Start, 1:06)
- Denver Police Chief Robert C. White “Obviously our first task is to provide some of these services. If they refuse these services and they are going to move along, to be candid with you, we will be done with it. If they are not going to move along, after going through the process of verbal and written warnings, then we will be more aggressive and make the arrest. But if we say move along, and they move along, for all practical purposes, we have completed the task. We’re not going to follow them to see where they have moved to.” (Start, 1:07)
- Councilman Lopez, District 3: “We’re talking about citations. How much is the citation? What is the cost of the citation? What is the fine? I’m worried that if they don’t pay the fine because they ain’t got a job, they are going to be in violation. And so it is almost a double jeopardy” (Start, 1:35).
- Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell: “The bill brought forward by Councilman Brooks does not have any special penalty prevision. When an ordinance does not provide any special penalty provision, you fall to a general provision of the municipal code. The maximum penalty for any municipal code violation is $999 dollars or a year in jail.” (Start, 1:37)
- Councilwoman Susan Shepherd, District 1: “One concern I have of this is that people who spend already a large part of their lives in fear may be spending even more time in fear at the possibility of tangling with the law as a result of this ordinance and that the consequences of that is that they may hide or disappear to dispersed areas of the city where we are even less likely to be able to reach them with the services that we have been discussing now and that our overall efforts may actually decline in being able to connect these people to the services that they need to hopefully get back on the road to self sufficiency at some point” (Start, 1:47).
- Councilman Chris Nevitt, District 7: “After 9 p.m. there is a bunch of people camped out on the 16th Street Mall. The question I would pose is how many of those people need help? How many of those people don’t want help? That number is more than zero…Those are the people right now where we don’t really have the tools available to push them into the arms of help. So there is a little bit of stick here, but sometimes a little bit of stick is necessary to get people to accept the carrot” (Start, 1:48).
- Councilwoman Robin Kniech, At-Large: “As far as this ordinance is concerned, as far as law enforcement is concerned, the second someone says I am willing to move along, it is the end of that story. But is not the end of the story for the community…Hundreds and hundreds of people have said yes to the help we’ve offered and we don’t have the space…I have a timing concern. With sit and lie we paired the resources with the approach. The challenge we have now is that we are not matching the approach to the geography and the hours. That’s the mismatch. So if everyone says yes, and we can’t deliver, then what we are not doing is being honest with residents about how this ordinance is going to change our city. Because what it is going to mean is that if someone can pick up their backpack and move, they are still going to walk to someone else’s neighborhood, or someone else’s park, or someone else’s river bank, unless they can get a taxi out of town. I worry about what we promise people we’re going to deliver with this. I don’t think we’re going to deliver what some folks think we’re going to deliver with this” (Start, 1:50).
- Councilman Paul Lopez, District 3: “I’m concerned as well that if we keep asking people to keep moving, all we’re doing is asking them to stay awake. And they are going to find somewhere to sleep. And you can’t stay awake 24×7. Especially when you’re homeless. I’m worried about that” (Start, 1:54).
- Stefan Stein, Urban Peak: “We are opposed to an ordinance that could, under certain circumstances, result in the criminal prosecution of a homeless youth for the act of sleeping on public or private property. Since there are no nearly enough shelter beds or other housing units in our city to serve the number of homeless or run away youth, the enforcement of the proposed ordinance would have a negative impact on the youth Urban Peak serves by exposing them to potential criminal prosecutions that will hinder our ability to get them the services they need. Homeless youth face very unique challenges due to their lack of life experience, due to their vulnerability to sexual and physical victimization, due to mental illness, due to substance abuse, and where applicable, to their experience with and discharge from the foster care system. The propose ordinance will likely force homeless youth further from sight and hamper Urban Peaks ability to make contact with them, establish trusting relationship and connect them with the services they need to exit the streets and become self sufficient.” (Start, 2:35)
Tuesday, April 3, 10:30 am:
Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, information item, Room 391, City and County Building 1437 Bannock St, Denver, Colorado 80202
- Bennie Milliner, Denver’s Road Home: “The number one issue is that if we doubled shelter services today, that we still would not have enough to meet the needs of everybody in the city…No one could have predicted the economic situation that we sit in today” (Start, 01:04).
- John Parvinsky, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless: “We believe that no person should have to sleep on the streets of Denver. No one should have to be forced between being arrested because they have no place else to go. We’re concerned that this ordinance will essentially create that dynamic where essentially the lack of available shelter will lead to the criminalization of being homeless. It will be a status crime in Denver. As Bennie has indicated, there is not enough shelter spaces to meet the need of those who are currently homeless in Denver today” (Start, 1:14).