Please watch this video of the City unable to return Thomas his property after the sweeps.
The notices from the City of Denver concerning the sweeps beginning March 8th state the following:
“Encumbrances that remain in the public right of way will be transported to 1221 Glenarm Place and will be available for retrieval at the location Monday through Friday from 12:00pm to 2pm.”
People staying outside in areas where police and public works confiscated property were promised their property would be taken to storage where they could get these belongings back. However in reality there is no sufficient process for returning people’s belongings. Individuals were supposed to receive receipts for their belongings, but most people did not receive a receipt. As is shown by Thomas’s experience trying to get his belongings back, there is no functional system for returning people’s property. Those without receipts who make it to this “storage” location during their minimal open hours in an effort to get needed belongings back walk away empty handed.
The city of Denver took Thomas’s sleeping bag, blankets, tent, cart, pictures of his kids, government paperwork, and other life-sustaining and irreplaceable items and cannot give them back.
Sweeping the streets to take homeless people’s property and telling people who are covering themselves from the elements to “move along” is a violation of basic human rights. This practice is leaving people outside without protection or cover. Sweeps do not end homelessness–they make it even harder for people experiencing homelessness to survive. These attempts to hide homeless people and push them out of city limits is discriminatory, oppressive, and inhumane. The city of Denver would rather have homeless people disappear than try to help them.
This is the first of many videos we will be sharing in the coming days with people directly affected by the sweeps.