DENVER HOMELESS NEED A HOME BASE
Since March 8th, one month ago, Denver police have been actively enforcing the camping ban with sweeps to move “away” homeless people trying to survive in public spaces. These sweeps are taking place under the direction of Mayor Michael Hancock.
We at Denver Homeless Out Loud have repeatedly requested to meet with the Mayor to address these harmful sweeps, but he continues to refuse to meet and hear from homeless people directly affected by the sweeps.
We are demonstrating at the opening game of the Rockies session to raise awareness and push forward our demand to the Mayor that he meet with us and ultimately that he end the sweeps. We are sure the Rockies and fans will agree that Denver homeless people need a home base, too.
The sweeps are detrimental to the welfare of the community — causing sleep deprivation leading to long term chronic illnesses, loss of life-sustaining belongings, costing lives lost due to hypothermia, being pushed to far off, unsafe locations, and the overall criminalization of necessary survival in public space. Moving visible homeless people “away” — out of sight, out of mind — does not solve the crisis of homelessness in Denver.
There are real ways to address the crisis of mass homelessness in Denver and taking people’s blankets and telling them to move along is not one of them. Denver housing costs are at an all time high leaving more and more people on the streets. City of Denver officials themselves have stated Denver has a shortage of 40,000 affordable housing units. A household must earn an hourly wage of $17.61 to make the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Colorado affordable. We must take serious measures to address this housing crisis and make housing actually affordable for low income people. Meanwhile, as we work to this end, we must allow those who have been forced out of homes and onto the streets to survive and to protect themselves from the elements in public spaces.
We are demanding the Mayor call for an Immediate End to the Sweeps and the Confiscation of People’s Belongings.
Furthermore as a city we must…
Repeal the Camping Ban and Pass a Right to Survive
Instead of spending city money criminalizing homelessness allocate public funds for homes and underutilized public spaces for alternative housing models
In 2014 Denver spent at least three-quarters of a million dollars ($750,000.00) policing, adjudicating, and incarcerating homeless people for five of the Denver laws against necessary life-sustaining acts in public space. For that amount of money we could build 150 tiny homes at the going cost of $5000 per home for people currently without homes.
Please call Mayor Hancock and demand he end the sweeps, let people rest, and spend your taxpayer dollars on homes not policing and jails.