Last night, December 3rd 2015, roughly 30 people were kicked out of their newly found homes and community at Resurrection Village. We were told by police that we could not protect ourselves from the cold with tents, blankets, and anything but our cloths. All they ask is that we disappear.
It is a sad day for us at Resurrection Village. We started the day in high spirits when we heard today that a negotiation was struck between Treehouse Development and Resurrection Village. What was promised was that we would have two and a half weeks to move Resurrection Village to a new home. Needless to say we were ecstatic to be able to not have our Village wiped out. However it appears we have been betrayed by Treehouse.
Ask anyone living at Resurrection Village why they are there and you will see what this village is and why it must exist. A place where I can stay with my wife. A community that supports me getting off drugs. Somewhere to get enough sleep before going to work. Somewhere I can stay warm and have privacy in my tent. People taking care of others is what it is. But this is not allowed.
But as Martin Luther King Jr said, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” The urban camping ban is not only unjust, it is impossible. We do not have homes. We have to sleep somewhere. The 2015 Point In Time Count, known to be an under-count but which is the number used by the city and HUD to count people experiencing homelessness, counted 6,130 people experiencing homelessness in Denver metro area. No matter how you count the number of shelter beds, even with the most liberal counts, that means there are at least a thousand people in the Denver metro area who must sleep outside. The option is cover yourself and break the law, or freeze.
In January the Right to Rest Act will be going before the Colorado State legislator, sponsored by Representatives Salazar and Melton. This bill would, among other basic human rights, give all Coloradans the right to rest in public space and protect oneself from the elements. As we work to address our housing crisis, we must also work to create a city and state where people have the right to survive.
Resurrection Village is not dead. Whether some people join together to try not to freeze with a few blankets, or we have 20 tents and 30 people taking care of each other, or whether we have a village of Tiny Homes, we remain strong as Resurrection Village.
Stay tuned for updates…