Month: October 2017

Vice Documentary on Homeless Sweeps

Vice Documentary on Homeless Sweeps 

Watch the Vice documentary on housing, homelessness, weed, and the sweeps in Denver. (Note: however you have to have special technology to watch this…so you may need to download things to make it play)

As sweeps continue and winter comes…let us prepare for this trial to protect life…

Rally and Hearing for Smoking Ban – Stop the City from Targeting Homeless and Poor People for just for Smoking a Cigarette!!

Smoking Ban is Going Forward – Stop the City from Targeting Homeless and Poor People just for Smoking a Cigarette!!

Rally 4:30pm
Hearing 5:30pm
@ City and County Building – 1437 Bannock St
Bring a sign to the rally. Wear a button at the hearing (we will pass out). 
The Denver City Council will be holding their final vote on the smoking ban on 16th street mall – sponsored by Councilman Albus Brooks – on October 30th at 5:30pm at the City and County Building 1437 Bannock St. The bill passed committee and first reading with concerns but no objections to moving forward. The bill was not called for public comment so there will be no chance in the hearing to speak. Since the public will be silenced in this space from speaking their concerns we will be holding a rally outside in front on the city and county building at 4:30pm to show the council that we do not want these discriminatory laws. Bring a sign, if you can, that calls out the injustice of this smoking ban.
The proposed “Breathe Easy” ordinance or, better called, Smoking Ban on the 16th Street Mall would make it a civil offense and institute fines of up to $100 for people who smoke or vape on the pedestrian mall. These laws are used to target homeless and poor people in attempt to move them out of the area. These laws have been proven in cities across the country to discriminate against homeless people and to lead to the incarceration of homeless and poor people. In both Boulder and Fort Collins over 83% of those ticketed were homeless. There is no way but to see this as unjust, harmful, and unconstitutional discrimination. We must stand against this continuation of laws like Jim Crow, Sundown town, and other laws of the past meant to push unwanted people out of public spaces. 
Denver Homeless Out Loud, Harm Reduction Action Center, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Warm Cookies of the Revolution, and American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado are all standing up to oppose this injustice. Please join us! 
Read our one pager about the bill here Oppose the Smoking Ban
Denver Homeless Out Loud


Mayor Hancock’s Second Visit to Tiny Home Village

Mayor Hancock’s Second Visit to Tiny Home Village

Colorado Village Collaborative

Building Villages. Building Community.

October 9, 2017 — Upon the request of his office, and agreement by the Village Council, Mayor Hancock made his second visit to the Beloved Community Tiny Home Village on Friday, October 6. While he was there, he toured the village, checked out the gardens, saw the Bayuad Enterprises Laundry truck in action, and engaged in dialogue with the villagers in their new community space.

While most villagers were out working, some were able to share some stories with the Mayor about the difficulties that they have had accessing the shelter system, and the trauma that they have experienced being “swept” by police on the streets due to the Unauthorized Camping Ban (a.k.a. “Survival Ban”). The villagers explained that due to criminalization, and barriers to accessing shelters they had no place to go until they worked together to build this village.

The problem, of course, is that much like our friends still sleeping on the streets who face “moving dates” each minute, this village faces an upcoming moving date in January. The villagers explained that the Colorado Village Collaborative has successfully developed a form of housing that is 1) Quick to build, 2) “Attainably” priced, 3) Community based, and 4) Environmentally friendly, but right now the biggest barriers to building upon its success and continuing to scale this movement are 1) Land and 2) Zoning Policies.

Colorado Village Collaborative told the Mayor that the City of Denver needs to preserve and prioritize land for the poor in the midst of the urban core, and needs to change the zoning code so that citizens can continue to work together as a community to build villages where our friends and neighbors on the streets can have a safe, dignified space to build life-sustaining community and thrive.

Before the Mayor left, a group photo was taken, and with a smile on his face, the Mayor said,  “This is working very well.” We only hope that good sentiment will lead to the changes needed in order to make land and housing available for our friends still deeply engaged in the struggle of life on the streets.

Eleven tiny homes are only the beginning. Now is the time to build quick and attainable housing. #movealongtowhere?

Lockers Installed on Business Wall for People Experiencing Homelessness

Lockers Installed on Business Wall for People Experiencing Homelessness

Local Business, Sexy Pizza, Filling Gap Left by City Government’s Inaction By Partnering with Denver Homeless Out Loud

DENVER—October 3, 2017 —  Sexy Pizza – with three locations in Denver – will be the first business in the city to set aside their exterior business wall for storage lockers reserved for people experiencing homelessness at their pizzeria on 11th and Ogden.  All of the Sexy Pizza owners are supportive of supplying the space for the lockers. This includes Kayvan Khalatbari, a 2019 candidate for Mayor of Denver and an advocate for homeless policy reform, who was key in partnering with Denver Homeless Out Loud to bring these lockers to Sexy Pizza.

“The lack of accommodations serving basic needs for people experiencing homelessness in Denver is alarming.” says Mr. Khalatbari. “As a city we are not making the investments necessary to ensure this vulnerable population has an opportunity to realistically get back on their feet, so much that we felt it incumbent on us to get our business involved in supporting creative solutions.”

The locker project is created and run by Denver Homeless Out Loud, a community organization working on behalf of individuals experiencing homelessness. The wall space available will accommodate four lockers. Through an application process that considers specific needs, DHOL has identified four individuals to be the first recipients of these lockers.

These lockers will partially alleviate a lack of storage facilities for personal belongings, one of the larger burdens of being unhoused.  Without access to secure storage, people experiencing homelessness must carry their only possessions with them throughout their day, often inciting debilitating back pain.  Additionally, this underserved need results in a loss of survival gear such as blankets and tarps through police sweeps and theft, a loss of personal identification, and discrimination when trying to obtain employment or patronize businesses. These lockers will help individuals overcome many of those burdens, thus significantly improving their quality of life and their ability to get back on their feet.

“As a homeless human having a safe and secure locker to store my belongings will give me a solid peace of mind when I go into the workforce,” says locker recipient Ben. Another locker recipient Mik says, “I feel I can be a more productive person by being able to store my things instead of carrying them everyday.” And yet another locker recipient Cassie says, “With a safe locker to put our belongings in, we will not be discriminated against.”

Gifted with the lockers, Denver Homeless Out Loud installed and will maintain the four lockers, which carry a total cost of $80 in paint, parts, locks, and bolts. Similar locker sets can be purchased for about $50, making the total potential cost of future locker installation of this size around $130. This is a stark difference compared to the cost of lockers recently installed by the City and County of Denver near the Samaritan House, which totaled $3,000 per locker. Though larger in size, the cost of the City’s lockers highlights the City’s current inefficient approach to helping those experiencing homelessness in an effective and cost-sensitive manner.  DHOL could install 92 lockers like those at Sexy Pizza for the price of one city locker. DHOL is proud of what community members and businesses can accomplish together, and the incredibly positive impact they can have on people’s daily lives when working collaboratively.

“With more than 7,000 people experiencing homelessness in Denver and the number growing every day, we’re in crisis mode.” says Denver Homeless Out Loud’s Terese Howard. “We know we can’t rely on those in government to support effective solutions, and that we need to seek out other stakeholders to fill the widening gap in necessary services.”

Denver Homeless Out Loud and Mr. Khalatbari are now seeking out other central Denver businesses to support the expansion of this program as winter approaches.