Vice Documentary on Homeless Sweeps
Watch the Vice documentary on housing, homelessness, weed, and the sweeps in Denver.
https://www.viceland.com/en_us/video/weediquette-dank-new-world/59ee4498177dd439624ad172 (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…
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
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.
Denver Government Trying to Throw People in Jail for Survival Ban via Probation
When: August 24th 2017 at 8:30am
Where: Lindsey Flanagan Court House (520 W Colfax Ave, Denver CO 80204)
On August 24th 2017 at 8:30am Terese Howard will go to court to face a sentencing of 30 days in jail for the urban survival ban (otherwise known as “camping ban”). On April 5th 2017 Jerry Burton, Randy Russell, and Terese Howard were found guilty of surviving in public after a high profile 3 day trial with a jury that said things like “Why are we prosecuting people for being homeless?” and “I’ll bear a sense of guilt in prosecuting them,” and where the city prosecution said “you know it is illegal to survive in Denver.” For Terese, however, this was not the end of sentencing for this “crime” of lying in a sleeping bag as she was already on probation under a trespassing charge for sitting in a tiny home. In October 2015 members of Denver Homeless Out Loud and the broader homeless community took direct action to address the housing crisis and built five tiny homes in a day on this vacant Denver Housing Authority land which used to be low income housing and was just about to be sold to a private developer for market rate housing. But instead of responding with greattude that homeless people were taking care of their own housing needs the response was to arrest these people, including Terese, and destroy their homes. On November 28th 2016 when she got a ticket for the survival ban this was considered a violation of the probation condition of the trespassing charge of “no new law violations for a year.”
So now the city government is trying to throw her in jail for 30 days. At the same time the city says they do not put people in jail for the camping ban but rather use it to help “connect people to services.” So if they don’t throw people in jail for the survival ban than why are the city prosecutors trying to put Terese in jail for 30 days because of a ticket for the survival ban???
This case will be represented by the renown constitutional lawyer, David Lane, who has recently joined on as co-counsel in the class action lawsuit against the city for the homeless sweeps. If the city gets what they want Terese, a prominent organizer with DHOL fighting the cities injustices, will be in jail for 30 days after this hearing.
Contact: Denver Homeless Out Loud
EVIDENCE AGAINST DENVER SO STRONG THAT A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS FILED IN HOMELESS CLASS ACTION
Press Conference and March for our Rights!!
When: Monday August 14th 11am
Where: City and County Building 1437 Bannock St Denver CO
What: Press Conference, Rally, March and Food
Why: Because the evidence is so clear: the City has violated our constitutional rights in the sweeps
How: Gather at the City and County Building at 11am. Hear from our lawyers and plaintiffs speaking to the press at 11:15am. March down to the Downtown Denver Business Partnership offices at 16th and Tremont to call out their role in pushing for the sweeps. March back to City Hall to call out the Mayor and his administration’s direction of the sweeps in violation of constitutional rights. Eat food.
To Bring: If you have the resources and can bring some food it is a pot luck so bring food to share!
Denver, CO—Collected through months of discovery, the evidence against Denver exposes a systematic disregard and violations of the rights and dignity of U.S residents in one of the largest homeless class actions in U.S. history.
“They look at you with disdain… instead of a human being with feelings and emotions, you know, wants, needs.”
Exhibit 1, Roy Vincent Browne Deposition.
The purpose of the camping ban and the homeless sweeps was not to help the poor, as officials so often claimed, but to get rid of the unwanted in a growing American city.
“I think the unauthorized camping ordinance has had a positive effect on the community. I think, without it, we would be looking like LA right now.”
Deposition of Bennie Milliner, Executive Director of the Road Home Program—main program designed to serve homeless persons— stating that the purpose of the homeless sweeps was to keep Denver from looking like Los Angeles.
Newly discovered evidence shows that the city used inmates to conduct the homeless sweeps, used flamethrowers to intimidate homeless persons, and after seizing personal property and throwing it in the garbage, held a city-funded barbecue directly in front of the homeless persons who had just been displaced.
Copies of emails and newly unearthed evidence will be provided at the 8/14 press conference.
Video by Unicorn Riot on Beloved Community Village Build https://vimeo.com/218386349
Beloved Community Tiny Home Village Building Starts Saturday May 20, 2017!!
Beloved Community Village, Denver’s First Tiny Home Village, construction will begin on Saturday May 20, 2017! This tiny home village will be at 3733 Walnut St and will have 11 tiny homes, a community space, a shower building, and bathrooms. The village will be home to 14 people who are currently homeless. The village will be run by the village residents themselves with partnership with an advisory council.
This tiny home village has been made legally possible for the first time ever in Denver after working with City planning and zoning departments to allow for this type of village. This support is a big step forward to enable common sense housing communities. However, current zoning requires the village to move locations every 6 months, continuing to force communities to move and will prevent planting roots. Ultimately, we seek to create zoning for permanent tiny home villages to support multiple ways of finding home and community.
This village is the creation of a new organization called Colorado Village Collaborative, a partnership between Denver Homeless Out Loud, The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Bayaud Enterprises, Beloved Community Mennonite Church, and village residents. Architectural plans and designs were provided by Radian Inc., Whiting-Turner will oversee construction, and Mennonite Disaster Services will oversee volunteers. The Village is made possible by more than 300 individuals, organizations, and businesses who provided funding, and who have signed up to help build.
Beloved Community Village is a remarkable feat of collaborative and persistent effort across many sectors of society. Given the absence of attainable housing for low or no income people in Denver and across the Nation, and given the use of laws to criminalize people for trying to survive in public spaces and push them “away” into farther away more hidden places in effort to hide homelessness, tiny home villages are one significant, unique means of creating fast, inexpensive, community based, environmentally friendly homes.
All are invited to visit the village being built over the next couple weeks. We currently have enough volunteers to build the village, but welcome support of coffee, snacks, or food for the workers. To donate please go to https://www.gofundme.com/denvers-first-tiny-home-village.
Thanks to all who made this possible! Homes for all!
Watch “What it’s like to be homeless in Denver”
Produced by 360 Media with Denver Homeless Out Loud