Month: November 2016

Daily Sweeps of Homeless Surviving Outside Samaritan House Continue: Winter Support Needed


Daily Sweeps of Homeless Surviving Outside Samaritan House Continue

Since Tuesday 11/15 the city has continued to sweep people every morning staying outside the central homeless service hub on Lawrence and Broadway. And since Tuesday people surviving together on these blocks continue to come right back the minute the “clean up” is done. Police continue to wake people up, force them to move around, and enforce ever changing policies regarding how  many inches one can be from the side walk and so on – regardless of the freezing weather. And due to this freezing weather homeless people continue to use whatever protection from the elements they can to survive – regardless of the Mayor’s wishes.

This morning police came to wake everyone up and tell them they needed to move at 5am in the middle of the freezing rain. Police continued to drive around harassing people yelling threats and mean words until public works showed up at 9am to do their “clean up” (in spite of the fact homeless people had already swept the blocks with what brooms they have). At first police and public works said they were not going to make everyone do the whole move along dance they usually make folks due – moving all their stuff from one block to another and taking anything remaining. But than, after some people already had been told they were good to leave and go to work or due whatever eronds they need, public works changed their mind and starting taking anyone’s stuff that was not their to claim it – and not letting friends claim their friends stuff. Many people’s belongings were taken to “storage” – we will see if they can get it back… All of this in the snow and rain.

In the midst of all this Officer Lombardy warned us there will be a heavy police presence harassing people there at all hours of the day and night regardless of the weather. He went on to explained to us why these sweeps were happening saying, “This place is giving Denver a black eye. It is making the city look like it does not care about their citizens.” He has this right. The Mayor and his administration are demanding these sweeps hit homeless people hard and make them suffer so they will go “away” out of sight out of mind and not make the city look like it does not care for its people.

There are currently about 150 homeless people living in this area who could really use some support. If you can come out MondayFriday mornings to help people please do! Some helpful things include…

-Helping move stuff who wish to do so,

-Video police to hold them accountable and document what is going on,

-Bring warm gear (i.e. tents, sleeping bags, tarps…),

-When it is snowing/raining come by and take loads of blankets/sleeping bags to be dried,

-Bring coffee or any other such warm treat:)

-Help out in many many other ways…

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Homeless People Win the Blocks Back!!!

Homeless People Win the Blocks Back!!!
Today, November 16 2016, 12:30pm over a hundred homeless people marched across the street and set back up their make shift “homes” of shopping carts, tarps, and the like back up on the blocks of Lawrence, Broadway, and Park Ave. Right now over a hundred people have won back these streets for all those in need to survive together.
The City’s intent was to sweep everyone and their belongings off this block. Yesterday morning police told the first people that they could not come back and sit down with anything other than their cloths – meaning they would be enforcing the camping ban in this area so no one could survive there. But after the people of the block rallied together chanting, with signs, locking arms, and staying put in this area… after everyone who was forced to leave the two blocks along Broadway and Park Ave came right back within hours of police leaving… after we made it clear if we were swept from this block we would be setting up camp in front of the Mayor’s office… after all this and all the work to defend our rights in the political systems… — today the City was forced to step back as homeless people would not be moved.
Homeless people have been living on these blocks right near the Mission, which has been sheltering people in this location since 1970, looking out for each other in order to survive for years. In the past couple years more people have been living on these blocks as more and more people find themselves homeless and as the camping ban was passed to push people out of sight in central downtown areas. As the ball park area has been rapidly gentrifying – building high end apartments and pushing poor people and people of color out of the area – the City has increased its use of force to attempt to sweep away visible homelessness from the area.
After the major sweep in this area on March 8th 2016 police enforcement of the camping ban was so heavy that very few people were able to stay in this area. It was not until summer that people were able to slowly tickle to move back to stay.
The sweeps today were again supposed to kick everyone off the blocks. Now after over a year of heavy sweeps, police presence, and continued city efforts to move people from these blocks homeless people are tired of being pushed around and are not moving along to nowhere anymore.
Onward toward the Right to Rest for all…
Denver Homeless Out Loud

Homeless People Refuse to Be Swept “Away”

Homeless People Refuse to Be Swept “Away”  
A homeless man, who goes by the street name King Reality, cries as he tied himself to his belongings while Denver police and city workers gathered to sweep the homeless camps on Lawrence Street near Samaritan House, November 14, 2016. While some prepared to leave the area, others said they refuse to move. RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Homeless man, who goes by the street name King Reality, cries as he tied himself to his belongings while Denver police and city workers gathered to sweep the homeless camps on Lawrence Street near Samaritan House, November 15, 2016. While some prepared to leave the area, others said they refuse to move. RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Be back to Lawrence and Broadway bright and early tomorrow (11/16) morning for continued sweeps. 
Today, November 15 2016, homeless people who have been surviving together on the streets by Lawrence and Broadway refused to be forced away – to be hidden…as the City tried to do this day. As police tried to kick people off the blocks at least 50 homeless people living on these blocks plus many supporters from clergy to service providers to neighbors stood together, chanting, locking arms, to demand justice. After cops came to sweep the area with the intent of forcing everyone to leave and not come back with any belongings, people who have been staying on these streets moved across the block and right back. Tonight at least 100 people were back camped on these blocks.
But also tonight around 8pm police came back to the area to harass those sleeping there and tell them they will be back “bright and early” and threaten to arrest everyone saying.
We had a big success today keeping this space for hundreds of people to survive, sleep and support each other. Now we must press on again tomorrow… We cannot be swept away. There is no away to go to… If the City is going to sweep us from these blocks we may have to sleep in front of the Mayor’s office so he can see he can’t sweep us away…
Some of the news coverage…
Denver Homeless Out Loud
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City Plans to Sweep Homeless People “Away” again November 15

City Plans to Sweep Homeless People “Away” again November 15


WHEN: November 15th, 2016 – exact time unknown (most likely morning)

WHERE: Notices have been given out all over the city, however the largest number of signs are posted by Lawrence and Broadway by the shelters (DHOL members will be present at this location)

Even after months of sweeps and heavy enforcement of the camping ban which has pushed homeless people around the city from here to there to here again…Mayor Hancock is yet again commanding a mass sweep of areas where homeless people have found to stick together and survive. Notices have been posted throughout the city stating that “Beginning November 15th the city will remove all items encumbering the public spaces in this area.” These same signs were posted before March 8th when the city swept hundreds of people out of the area by Broadway and Lawrence. In spite of massive police presence in this area regularly coming through and forcing everyone to stand up, move around, get off the cardboard one is sitting on and so on, within a couple months people gathered back in this area for the safety of community and near the resources they need. Now again the city is trying to sweep homeless people away…knowing there is no away for people to go home to… And this November 15th sweep is not just planed for the area by Broadway and Lawrence – homeless people staying throughout the city have received notice for a sweep on this day.
This planned mass sweep comes less than three months after the lawsuit taking the city of Denver to federal court for violating our 4th and 14th amendment rights in these very sweeps was filed. Even as the case moves forward in federal court, Mayor Hancock continues to have the nerve to ignore our constitutional rights and attempt to move homeless people out of sight to pave way for high end development for the rich.
This sweep also comes just two months before the state legislative session begins and the Colorado State Legislator will be voting on the Right to Rest Act which would protect our basic human rights to sit, lay down, and protect oneself from the elements. As housing prices and homelessness, and the criminalization of surviving in public grow – so does the movement for our right to be treated like humans and have access to homes we can afford.
We are demanding Mayor Hancock Immediately End the Sweeps and 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

Move Along to Where? We will not be hidden. We need homes not sweeps.


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