Month: February 2016

Committee Votes 5-6 Against the Right to Rest – We press on…Join us for Speaking out for the Right to Rest Event 2/25

Colorado Legislative Committee Votes 5-6 Against the Right to Rest


​Yesterday, February 24th 2016, the Local Government Committee of the Colorado State Legislator voted 5 for 6 against the Right to Rest. We were one vote short of passing this committee.
We are very sad. Because this bill did not pass the people of Colorado will continue to be awakened and moved about the city with no place to legally rest; the people of Colorado will continue to be ticketed and later thrown in jail for covering up with a blanket to stay warm; the people of Colorado will continue to hear taps on their window from officers telling them they can’t sleep in their own car. Laws will continue to be used to attempt to hid, to move “away,” the fact we live in a State and a Country with mass homelessness and poverty.
But we cannot be hidden and forced “away.” We are here and we will continue to exist in public space. And just as we must continue to exist, we will continue to join together and fight for our rights to exist…!
So much gratitude goes to Representatives Salazar and Melton for their incredible, dedicated, and deep hearted leadership in this fight!!
Together we ran the Right to Rest Act last year and were voted down 3-8; we ran the Right to Rest Act this year and were voted down 5-6; we will keep coming back to the legislator year in and year out until we have the Right to Rest!
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Following yesterday’s hearing we are not stopping! Join us TODAY Thursday 2/25 for Speaking Out For The Right to Rest 

Denver Homeless Out Loud In Partnership With People Rising Against Poverty

When: February 25th 5:308:00pm

Where: Denver Inner City Parish; 1 21 2 Mariposa St, Denver CO

The day after the committee hearing, we are holding our Speaker’s Bureau with People Rising Against Poverty in order to raise the voices of those impacted by the criminalization of homelessness and mobilize to build the movement even stronger…

-Hear directly from houseless people affected by the brutal policies of criminalization

-Discuss strategy with most affected people and DHOL organizers on paths forward.

-Learn how to get involved

-Eat food!

Please also join on our Facebook event invite page and help spread the word by inviting your friends!

http://www. facebook.com/events/76951 82031 79377/

Contact:
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Colorado Right to Rest Act to be heard in Local Government Committee February 24, 2016!

Colorado Right to Rest Act to be heard in Local Government Committee February 24, 2016!


Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Time and Location:

Rally: 12:30pm in front of the State Capitol (Colfax and Lincoln)

Hearing: 1:30pm in State Capitol Building (room to be determined)

Press Release

DENVER — On February 24, 2016 the Local Government Committee of the Colorado State legislature will be hearing HB16-1191, known as the “Right to Rest Act.” Prior to the hearing, at 12:30pm, a rally will be held in front of the Capitol to remind our legislators all people need the right to rest!

Representatives Salazar and Melton will introduce legislation to end the alarming trend of cities passing laws that criminalize the basic civil rights of homeless individuals. The Right to Rest Act would, among other things, protect the rights of homeless people to move freely, rest, have privacy of one’s belonging, and eat in public space as well as protect their right to occupy a legally parked motor vehicle. The many laws across Colorado which infringe on these rights would be rendered null and void, and people will be allowed to rest.

This bill will “allow people the right to rest without harassment from police and without ordinances that violate civil and constitutional rights,” the bill’s Sponsor Representative Salazar explained at the Right to Rest Festival. “You better believe homeless people are being discriminated against. So many ordinances are being passed against homelessness that violate people’s rights, and this has become a statewide concern.”

Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL), as a member of Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), is leading the campaign for the Right to Rest Act in Colorado together with partner organizations across the state and along with 53 local Colorado organizations and over 170 nationally endorsing the campaign. In a coordinated campaign, California, Oregon, and Colorado are running the Right to Rest Act in their state legislatures.

Here in Colorado the low estimates of counted homeless people is 16,000, with schools counting 23,000 homeless children. Cities across Colorado are increasingly enacting and enforcing laws which punish people for doing what any person must do to survive–even though the extreme lack of affordable housing is forcing more and more people out of their homes and into living in public spaces. Due to the fact that these activities are being conducted in public space, these individuals are being treated inhumanely. Studies have shown for optimum health a person needs 7 to 8 hours of solid uninterrupted sleep. Colorado is ranked in the top ten states in the nation as to the highest cost of housing. The average one bedroom apartment is $1255. The average worker making minimum wage is priced out of the housing market. Colorado has what is known as the Telluride Law giving the owner/landlord the right to raise rent to any amount he deems fit. These two factors are contributing to people formerly housed no choice but to occupy public spaces.

The recently published report “Too High a Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness is Costing Colorado” by DU Sturm College of Law Homeless Advocacy Policy Project, shows that laws criminalizing homeless people for being homeless have become widespread in Colorado. Colorado’s 76 largest cities have 351 anti-homeless ordinances. Cities issue citations to homeless residents at a staggering rate. For example, 30% of all citations that Grand Junction issued are pursuant to an anti-homeless ordinance. The citations that Fort Collins issues to homeless residents represent 36% of total citations issued. Colorado Springs has doubled the rate at which they enforce anti-homeless ordinances between 2010 and 2014. Boulder stands out in issuing camping ban citations by issuing 1,767 between 2010 and 2014. By studying the enforcement of five anti-homeless ordinances in Denver, the report found that in 2014, Denver spent nearly three-quarters of a million dollars ($750,000.00) enforcing these ordinances.

The Colorado Homeless People’s Rights Survey, conducted by DHOL and partner organizations across the state, documents the experiences of 431 homeless people in 12 Colorado cities. This survey shows that 70% of respondents have been criminalized for sleeping, 64% for sitting/lying down, and 50% for loitering. Also, 60% have had their belongings taken by police or city employees. A similar survey done in Denver in 2012 found that 37% of respondents chose not to cover up against the elements in order to avoid violating the camping ban and being confronted by police.

But people’s voices speak louder than statistics. Here’s what one unhoused community member said about his efforts to survive in public space:

“One time, I was sitting at a bus stop. My feet were tired. I’d gotten off from a landscaping job and I couldn’t walk any further. I’d been up all night….A police officer approached me and told me to ‘move on’ and that I couldn’t camp here….I guess I was moving too slow….He put me in handcuffs….The other cop turned my backpack upside down and dumped it out. When they got done, he told me to ‘pick up this crap and get out.’  I had all my fresh laundered clothes in there and my water. I picked up my stuff and moved on….This stuff goes on every day.”

By ending the criminalization of rest and accompanying violations of basic human and civil rights, HB 16-1191 would encourage the diversion of expenditures from citing and jailing people for resting in public spaces to efforts aimed at preventing and ending homelessness.

To make a serious dent in the number of Coloradans facing homelessness, we must prioritize our efforts at the federal, state and local levels to provide affordable and healthy homes for all people who need it. At the same time, our humanity and common sense impel us to immediately end the cruel, costly, ineffective and unconstitutional practice of criminalizing people for performing necessary acts of survival in public places. That is what the Right to Rest Act is designed to do, and why the Colorado Legislature should pass it.

Watch video of DU Sturm College of Law Homeless Policy Project Presentation of “Too High a Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado”

Contact:

coloradohomelessbillofrights.org

info@denverhomelessoutloud.org

940-720-5291

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Too High a Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado

Read the report by University of Denver Sturm College of Law Homeless Advocacy Policy Project — Too High a Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado.

“LIKE MOST OF AMERICA, COLORADO FACES A HOMELESS EPIDEMIC.  Amidst a stark rise in housing costs and equally sharp drop in available affordable housing, Colorado’s cities struggle to address the overwhelming needs of its homeless residents. While professing a dedication to eliminating homelessness through homeless and poverty services, state actors continue to write, pass, and enforce local ordinances that criminalize life-sustaining behaviors. Laws that criminalize panhandling, begging, camping, sitting or lying in public, and vagrancy target and disproportionately impact residents that are homeless for activities they must perform in the course of daily living. This Report examines how laws criminalizing homeless people for being homeless have become widespread in Colorado. Through a comprehensive analysis of the enforcement of anti-homeless laws, this Report also examines the cost—economic and social—anti-homeless laws impose upon all Colorado citizens.”

 

3 Big Days: Law Report Release, Right2Rest Hearing, Speaking for the Right2Rest!

Three BIG DAYS coming up for the rights of the people!!

Mark Your Calender’s >2/16 >2/24 >2/25!!


 

 

 

Join us for the official report release of…

Too High A Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado

Did you know that in 76 cities in Colorado, there are 351 anti-homeless ordinances? Come to the report release and learn more…

Tuesday February 16th, 2016

11:30 am Refreshments – 12:00 pm Program & Report Presentation – 1:30 pm Discussion on Right to Rest Act

Address: 1600 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

Presentation by: The University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Homeless Advocacy Policy Project www.law.du.edu/index.php/homeless-advocacy-policy-project

Hosted by: Denver Homeless Out Loud

Join us for the…

Legislative hearing and committee vote on the Colorado Right to Rest Act (HB 1191)

Wednesday February 24th, 12:30pm

Rally 12:30pm in front of Colorado State Capitol (Colfax and Lincoln)

Hearing 1:30pm in State Capitol Building (room to be determined)

Remind our legislators all people need the right to rest!

Now is the time to TAKE ACTION!! Call and email committee members and ask them to support the right to rest and vote yes on HB 1191. See list of committee members, contact info, and sample talking points here.

Join us for…

Speaking Out For The Right to Rest!

Denver Homeless Out Loud In Partnership With People Rising Against Poverty

When: February 25th 5:30-8:00pm

Where: Denver Inner City Parish; 1 21 2 Mariposa St, Denver CO

On February 25th, the day after the committee hearing, we will be holding our Speaker’s Bureau with People Rising Against Poverty in order to raise the voices of those impacted by the criminalization of homelessness, as well as to mobilize people to support our campaign.

 

-Hear directly from houseless people affected by the brutal policies of criminalization

-Discuss strategy with most affected people and DHOL organizers on paths forward.

-Learn how to get involved!

Please also join on our Facebook event invite page and help spread the word by inviting your friends!

http://www. facebook.com/events/76951 82031 79377/

 

for more info:

Denver Homeless Out Loud

coloradohomelessbillofrights.org

info@denverhomelessoutloud.org

720-940-5291

Report Release Tuesday 2/16! Too High A Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado

Join us for the official report release of…

Too High A Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado

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Did you know that in 76 cities in Colorado, there are 351 anti-homeless ordinances? Come to the report release and learn more…

Tuesday February 16th, 2016

11:30 am Refreshments – 12:00 pm Program & Report Presentation – 1:30 pm Discussion on Right to Rest Act 

Address: 1600 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

Press release from University of Denver Sturm College of Law below.

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Denver Law Students Examine Costs of Criminalizing Homelessness in Colorado

 Report details effects of anti-homeless laws on Colorado

February 12, 2016 – DENVER – The University of Denver Sturm College of Law is proud to announce that its Homeless Advocacy Policy Project has published a groundbreaking policy report, Too High A Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs Colorado.

Too High A Price is the first report to provide a comprehensive look at municipal ordinances across Colorado that directly affect homeless individuals.  Colorado policymakers address“visible poverty” in their cities by enacting “quality of life” ordinances.  These ordinances typically prohibit life-sustaining behaviors that homeless individuals need to survive, such as sitting, sleeping, camping, and panhandling in public places.

By conducting a broad analysis of the enactment and enforcement of anti-homeless laws in Colorado, Too High A Price examines the cost—economic and social— that anti-homeless laws impose upon all Colorado citizens.  Given the prevalence of anti-homeless ordinances, trends of enforcement, and cost of implementation and adjudication, Too High A Price reveals that Colorado policymaker’s efforts to eradicate homelessness in this way are inefficient and discriminatory.

Key findings of Too High A Price include:

  • Colorado’s 76 largest cities have enacted 351 individual anti-homeless ordinances.
  • Under these anti-homeless ordinances, Colorado cities issue citations to homeless residents with significantly higher frequency than housed residents.
  • Six Colorado cities spent over $5 million dollars enforcing just 14 anti-homeless ordinances between 2010 and 2014.

Too High A Price was designed in a unified effort with the Western Regional Advocacy Project, and builds on similar reports studying the criminalization of homelessness in California and Washington by students at the UC Berkeley School of Law and Seattle University School of Law, respectively.  The Homeless Advocacy Policy Project also worked in partnership with a local community organization, Denver Homeless Out Loud, in authoring this report.

The findings of Too High A Price strongly support The Right to Rest Act, Colorado House Bill HB-16-1191, which was introduced to the Colorado Legislature by Representatives Salazar and Melton in February 2016.  The Right to Rest Act prohibits the enactment or enforcement of laws that criminalize resting in public spaces.

The Homeless Advocacy Policy Project is part of Denver Law’s Experiential Advantage Curriculum, exposing students to complex real-life situations to provide unparalleled opportunities to develop as a lawyer.  For more information on Too High A Price and the Homeless Advocacy Policy Project, see http://www.law.du.edu/index.php/homeless-advocacy-policy-project.

The Denver Law student authors of Too High A Price will present the Report’s methodology and conclusions and answer questions at a press event on Tuesday, February 16th, from 11:301:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1600 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203.

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Presentation by: The University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Homeless Advocacy Policy Projectwww.law.du.edu/index.php/homeless-advocacy-policy-project

Hosted by: Denver Homeless Out Loud www.denverhomelessoutloud.org Contact: info@denverhomelessoutloud.org 720-940-5291

Right to Rest Act HB 1191 Set for Hearing Feb 24th!!

The Colorado Right to Rest Act HB1191 is scheduled to be heard by the Local Government Committee on February 24th at 1:30pm! Location to be determined. Mark your calendars to come to the hearing and show the people need the right to rest!!
Representatives Joseph Salazar and Jovan Melton are leading the charge in the state legislator!
The 2016 Colorado Right to Rest Act prohibits the enactment or enforcement of laws that criminalize resting and seeking nourishment in public spaces. It gives every person the right to sleep, sit, lay, cover oneself from the elements, sleep in your vehicle, share food, and have privacy of your belongs. In essence it gives us the right to survive.
Now is the time to TAKE ACTION and tell the Local Government committee members we need the right to rest!! Call and email committee members TODAY and ask them to support the right to rest and vote yes on HB 1191. See list of committee members, contact info, and sample talking points here.
Watch or re-watch “Those People: Our Public Existence” by DAM and DHOL in 2015.
Today, February 9th 2016, Colorado Springs just passed a law banning sitting or laying down in downtown areas. You can no longer sit in Colorado Springs. The minute you sit down you face up to $500 fines and up to 90 days in jail.  Read news coverage here
 
We have to exist somewhere. Homelessness, and the criminalization thereof, are of statewide concern. Local laws against resting, sleeping and eating in public space are currently being enforced in cities across Colorado. Because local jurisdictions are increasingly passing and enforcing such unconstitutional ordinances and rules, a state law is needed to prevent such occurrences.  
Through WRAP we are bringing these bills forth in California, Oregon, and Colorado.
Join us in the work to respect our rights to be human and exist in public spaces without discrimination. If you have not yet done so you can endorse the campaign here.

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Colorado Right to Rest Act is Back and Stronger than ever! HB 16-1191

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The Colorado Right to Rest Act of 2016 is live! House Bill number 1191! Representatives Joseph Salazar and Jovan Melton are leading the charge again in the state legislator. At the Right2Rest Fest on January 25th Rep Melton spoke to the crowd, “It is a right that no one should be denied.  No city should push their people out and no one should be criminalized for or discriminated against for the circumstances that they face.  We will continue to stand with you.”
The 2016 Colorado Right to Rest Act prohibits the enactment or enforcement of laws that criminalize resting and seeking nourishment in public spaces. It gives every person the right to sleep, sit, lay, cover oneself from the elements, sleep in your vehicle, share food, and have privacy of your belongs. In essence it gives us the right to survive.
Last year after surveying 441 people who are homeless in 12 Colorado cities we found that 70% are harassed, ticketed, or arrested for sleeping. 64% for sitting/lying down. And 61% have had their belongings taken by police or city employees. Getting told to “move along” is a daily routine.
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The United States has a long history of using meanspirited and often brutal laws to keep “certain” people out of public spaces and consciousness. Jim Crow, Sundown towns, Anti-Okie laws, Operation Wetback, and Ugly laws targeted various populations based on their racial, economic, social, immigration or disability status. Understanding this history will provide context for the exclusionary and discriminatory laws that specifically target homeless people for what are referred to as “Quality of Life” or “Nuisance Crimes.” They criminalize sleeping, sitting, loitering, panhandling and even food-sharing. Just like the laws from our past, they deny people their right to exist in local communities.

Through WRAP we are bringing these bills forth in California, Oregon, and Colorado.

Join us in the work to respect our rights to be human and exist in public spaces without discrimination. If you have not yet done so you can endorse the campaign here.

Read KGNU coverage of Right to Rest Fest.
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