Month: November 2015

Stone Soup Revival Saturday 11/20 12-6pm

We of Stone Soup Revival are proud to announce our inaugural event:

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Stone Soup Revival Community Block Party Extravaganza!

Saturday, November 21, 2015, Noon-6pm at 26th and Lawrence Streets

A family-friendly celebration of community, sharing and solidarity

A coming together to create Resurrection Village–a tiny homes community

We are a collection of people from all walks of life–led and guided by those with direct experience of homelessness–coming together to celebrate abundance, sharing and love–and to work to realize our vision of a world in which each of us has a safe place to call our own. We share the conviction that housing is a basic right held by all–and we are acting out of that conviction.

For this inaugural event, we invite everyone who believes in our vision to converge and demand that we be allowed to establish Resurrection Village–a self-governed tiny homes village that houseless people and their allies have been working to realize in downtown Denver–and that the City of Denver provides us land for this purpose. Our convergence will take place on the very site whereResurrection Village existed for a few jubilant hours before the houses we built ourselves were removed and ten of us were arrested on October 24th.

We are coming together to express our OUTRAGE with the status quo–in which thousands of us are sleeping in alleys and doorways and cars and crowded shelters by night–lugging around our worldly belongings by day–harassed, attacked and criminalized for simple acts of survival. We can create a better world together–beginning with the creation of Resurrection Village–a tiny homes community to be built, inhabited and managed right here in Denver by those of us who are currently houseless. 

We are also coming together to correct our misconceptions and educate each other about the true causes and status of homelessness in our communities: for example, that 1/3 of homeless people are working; nearly half of homeless people are in families with children;  269 people counted as homeless in the Denver area in January 2015 were over age 60, 586 identified as being veterans, and 650 reported being homeless due to domestic violence; and that–right now–we need 30,000 more affordable housing units than are available.

At this family-friendly event, we will make soup from ingredients each of us provides, celebrate, play, dance…share art, poetry, music, dreams and visions…learn, plan, and begin working together to make our shared vision a reality. We will draw inspiration from the folk-tale Stone Soup, in which a community discovered that, by working together and sharing, they could make soup from a stone, experience the true abundance among them, and accomplish anything. In the same vein, if we come together to create Resurrection Village, we can make it happen!

We are in a housing crisis–a crisis of homelessness. Over 11,000 of us in the Denver metro area are houseless. Winter is here! Covering ourselves with anything other than our clothing in public space is illegal! We can build sturdy, attractive tiny homes quickly for very little cost. There is vacant land all over Denver. Let’s bring our voices, hands and hearts together to make this vision of a tiny homes village a reality now!

We welcome you to join with us–to add the unique and wonderful ingredients which only you possess!

Go to:   stonesouprevival.org   denverhomelessoutloud.org   resurrectionvillage.wordpress.com

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First Snow of the Season at Resurrection Village

First Snow of the Season at Resurrection Village

On Tuesday, November 10th, Denver was expecting the first snow of this Winter Season. In response dozens of people came out to support the homeless organizers of Resurrection Village who had asked for a show of solidarity at 2500 Lawrence Street, the site where on October 24th they had built 5 tiny homes in aspirations to build a self governing tiny home community. That evening the Denver Housing Authority, who claimed ownership of the land, called the police who then came in, arrested 10 people, and destroyed three of the homes, hauling the other two away in tact on trailers.

Since October 24th, despite incorrect reports, Resurrection Villagers have not had any of their homes, materials or possessions returned to them by the Denver Police Department or the Denver Housing Authority. And without being given any other housing option, these brave villagers have maintained a presence at 2500 Lawrence Street since the date of their wrongful eviction, posting signs saying “Move along to where?”.

On Tuesday night, dozens came out and helped the villagers erect 12 tents and one Tiny Home was parked along the street, amounting to a mini community of otherwise unsheltered people taking care of themselves.

Denver Police have been under a great amount of scrutiny since the October eviction for their excessive use of force in evicting and arresting homebuilders of Resurrection Village, and on Tuesday night they did not arrest anyone or destroy anyone’s home at 2500 Lawrence Street.

However, while the villagers were settling into their tents at about 10:30, just before the snow came, police were rousting about 10 people who were sleeping with sleeping bags, tarps and ‘tents’ built out of tarp material, 2 blocks away at a piece of public property at Broadway and 24th Street. The police told the individuals they could not cover themselves and that they ‘had to be seen’ due to the City’s Unauthorized Camping Ordinance, which forbids covering oneself from the elements with “anything other than one’s clothing”. Denver Homeless Out Loud invited those folks to come join the community at 2500 Lawrence and some accepting the invitation. Among those folks was an elderly man who could not travel more than a few feet without having to rest, and expressed that he had otherwise not known where he would have been able to sleep that evening.

“I heard there were tents and other people, and I knew it would be frickin’ cold on the 16th Street Mall, where I usually sleep, so my buddy and I joined them and it was awesome! The tent kept us warm, and the food was great!” said Scott. His sentiments were echoed by Cisco, who usually sleeps by the river, which “is pretty cold in the morning, and it’s not a good spot in the snow….This (village) is a place to stay warm…it restores your faith in humanity…Everybody should have a place to go, homeless or not…without having to worry if we’re gonna go to jail in the morning, or get a ticket for doin’ it.”

Resurrection Villagers will continue their presence at 2500 Lawrence (along the perimeter of the locked fence) indefinitely. While public entities such as the City and County of Denver and the Denver Housing Authority own many parcels of underutilized land, homeless people have no legal and safe place to sleep and stay warm this winter season. In direct opposition to the Urban Camping Ban and other mean spirited laws which criminalize homelessness, Denver Homeless Out Loud and Resurrection Village both encourage the public to come join us with tents outside the locked fence until we have a legal Tiny Home community in Denver.

 

Our Demands:

  1. Legalize Tiny Homes in Denver

  2. Set aside a piece of publicly owned land for a Self Governed Tiny Home Village to be established

And Furthermore…

  1. End the criminalization of homelessness

  2. Adequately refund affordable housing

  3. Stop Displacing Urban Farmers by selling off publicly owned land to private developers.

 
For more information about Denver Homeless Out Loud, Resurrection Village, the events of October 24th, Tiny Homes or Homelessness, please go to denverhomelessoutloud.org. By clicking on the Tiny Homes page you may click on the menu on the left hand side and read our prior press releases.

Letter of Support for Panhandling Ordinance Changes

Dear Denver City Council,

As a result of a Federal District Court ruling that a Grand Junction panhandling ordinance is UNCONSTITUTIONAL (because it violates a person’s free speech rights)– on September 30, 2015 Denver Police Chief Robert White instructed all Denver Police Department officers to stop ticketing people under the Denver Panhandling Ordinance (Section 38-132). This Grand Junction ruling and resulting decision to hold off of enforcement against panhandling in Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs comes with warm welcome and excitement from people across Colorado who receive badly needed money, resources, and support by passively asking the public for help. We hope and ask that Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and all other Colorado City Councils respond to this Grand Junction ruling by repealing these unconstitutional panhandling ordinances. 

The Grand Junction ruling affirmed that non-aggressive panhandling is free speech and all the other aspects of the panhandling law regarding “aggressive panhandling” are covered in other existing laws such as harassment. 

Panhandling is a necessity that allows many people to get basic life sustaining things such as bus fare and food. Without the ability to ask for and receive donations from the public, people with no other source of income would not be able to take a bus to a job interview, buy a sandwich, or buy a cup of coffee in order to have a warm indoor place to be in the winter. 

It is costing the city large sums of money to police, ticket, arrest, and take people to court for panhandling. By allowing people to non-aggressively panhandle, Denver will save money that can be spent on employment opportunities, housing, and other basic needs. 

Making these changes to the panhandling ordinance is critical to ensure our constitutional rights are respected and people’s basic needs can be met. It is important that, along with these changes to the law, changes are also made in how police enforce the law. A recent study by ACLU in Colorado Springs showed that, over a period of more than two years, nearly a third of the tickets issued for illegal “soliciting” were in fact given to people who were just passively holding a sign asking for donations, which is legal. And rather than dismiss these tickets, the courts regularly prosecuted them, often against poor and homeless people, imposing fines and even jail sentences. https://www.aclu.org/news/colorado-springs-targets-impoverished-people-through-unfair-discriminatory-and-illegal  We urge the city to hold police accountable for only enforcing the law against actual aggressive behavior and not against people who are in fact following their legal rights to non-aggressively panhandle. 

These amendments to the panhandling ordinance to allow people to ask for help in a non-aggressive manner will free people to do what they need to get by without being treated by the law as less than human, constantly moved around, ticketed, arrested for FTAs/FTPs, spend time in jail, and go through our courts. We want to thank Council for considering these changes and are hopeful that all council members will vote for the new proposed changes to the panhandling law.

Sincerely,

Denver Homeless Out Loud