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Funding Fear and Hate

We went through all the campaign contributions to the “NO” on I-300 campaign. Many of Colorado’s most powerful interests, including Downtown Denver Business Partnership, Colorado Concern, energy companies, major law firms, investment firms, banks, real estate interests, as well as major national lobbies like the National Restaurant Association, National Association of Realtors and the National Western Stock Association spent BIG to defeat the measure.

UNHEALTHY BY DESIGN: Public Health Consequences of Denver’s Criminalization of Homelessness

UNHEALTHY BY DESIGN: Public Health Consequences of Denver’s Criminalization of Homelessness

Written by Tony Robinson (Ph.D.) and Marisa Westbrook (MPH) of University of Colorado Denver

Survey Design and Data Collection In Collaboration with Denver Homeless Out Loud

Ever wonder what are the physical, mental, emotional, and safety effects are on people living without housing under the “camping ban?”

This study examines the public health consequences of criminalizing homelessness in Denver. The study reports on a poll of 484 homeless individuals in Denver, regarding their experiences with “quality of life” policing, and how those policing practices are affecting their personal health and quality of life.

Read the full report here

Read the one page summary here

Watch livesteam of the report release presentation here below.

A Few Findings Below:

Respondents who are frequently woken by police typically sleep only in short bursts: 49% report 2 hours or less of uninterrupted sleep) and achieve less than four hours of sleep a night (37% of all respondents).

87% of respondents seek different sleeping locations to avoid police contact; 50% of respondents have sought more hidden and isolated locations.

Both male and female respondents who have found more hidden sleeping location report increased rates of robbery, physical violence and sexual assault.

Women who have found more hidden sleeping locations report a 50% higher rate of robbery, a 60% higher rate of sexual assault, and more than 3 times the rate of physical assault.

 

Report Release for…UNHEALTHY BY DESIGN: Public Health Consequences of Denver’s Criminalization of Homelessness

Report Release for…

UNHEALTHY BY DESIGN: Public Health Consequences of Denver’s Criminalization of Homelessness

Written by Tony Robinson (Ph.D.) and Marisa Westbrook (MPH) of University of Colorado Denver

Survey Design and Data Collection In Collaboration with Denver Homeless Out Loud

 

Saturday April 13th 3-4:30pm

Denver Homeless Out Loud office 2260 California St Denver CO 80205 (Purple Building on California and Park Ave)

 

Come to the report release!

  • Listen to presentation of the survey findings

  • Pick up a copy of the report

  • Eat food

 

Ever wonder what are the physical, mental, emotional, and safety effects are on people living without housing under the “camping ban?”

 

This study examines the public health consequences of criminalizing homelessness in Denver. The study reports on a poll of 484 homeless individuals in Denver, regarding their experiences with “quality of life” policing, and how those policing practices are affecting their personal health and quality of life.

 

Come join us on Saturday April 13th as we present these findings, feast on delicious food, and receive a copy of the report. This report comes out two days before ballots drop where the people of Denver will be voting on the Right to Survive initiative 300 to over turn the camping ban and end criminalization of homelessness.

Jerr-E-ville Under Threat of Sweep Wednesday April 10th

Jerr-E-ville Under Threat of Sweep Wednesday April 10th 2019

Denver, CO — Wednesday April 10th, twenty people living without housing in tents at Jerry-E-ville – a survival camp of homeless people at 27th and Arapahoe, are facing being swept “away” for violating the camping (aka survival) ban. On April 3rd fifteen police descended on Jerr-E-ville to warn them of the sweep. Residents have, nonetheless, remained at this spot with no where else to go.

Currently there are twenty homeless individuals living at Jerry-E-ville. Many of the folks living there are couples who would be separated if they stayed in a shelter. About half of those residing there are employed and at work all day. Many of the residents are elderly and have disabilities. Three vets currently live there.

Watch these raw interviews with seven of the residents speaking of their impossible search housing housing and their impossible question “move along to where?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UmvNgGlunk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZRHLauEpXA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYwHYn6eKM0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP5d8OgkcF0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHlGne2P1VM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J4QI_5Fe6M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ffz7pT-IG4

 

The place this survival camp is on is public land in front of a vacant plot that used to be low income housing owned by DHA.  They drop their tents down in the day. The camp is spotlessly clean.

If swept, that would be twenty people without housing pushed to go break the law somewhere else… or go to jail…to than get out again with nowhere to go…

Jerry Burton, “mayor” of Jerr-E-ville, invites the community and press to come out Tuesday night (April 9th) and Wednesday morning (April 10th) to support those being criminalized for their survival and to document this police attempt to make human beings disappear. Candidates for mayor and council are encouraged to come. Water, coffee and snacks are appreciated. Note: this is a survival camp (not a protest camp) so please respect the leadership and needs of the residents.

This comes one month before voters will decide if using protection from the elements when you are homeless surviving in public should be a crime.

Statement in response to the Denver Homeless Leadership Council Media Advisory of March 6, 2019 regarding Ordinance 300 – The Right To Survive Initiative

March 13, 2019

Statement in response to the Denver Homeless Leadership Council Media Advisory of March 6, 2019 regarding Ordinance 300 – The Right To Survive Initiative

Since the advent of contemporary homelessness in the early 1980’s, over 35 years ago, local governments across the country have “swept,” moved along and arrested people with no housing for the crimes of sleeping, sitting, loitering and protecting oneself from the elements (camping). Even while everyone from the Federal, State and Local Governments, to the Local Homeless Coordinating Boards and Service Provider Coalitions, to Advocacy Groups for Housing, Disability Rights, Homeless Led groups, National Groups, Statewide Homeless Coalitions, and even many Business groups – literally EVERYONE – identifies that the systematic dismantling of our nation’s affordable housing, as well as healthcare and income support programs, is the cause of why so many people from different geographic and social backgrounds are forced to live in our public spaces these days.

Yet in spite of the abysmal failure of Policing as a means to end homelessness, we continue to see new laws created and old laws enforced in a futile attempt to mitigate the impacts of homelessness and extreme poverty on the housed population and business community – aka move homeless people “away…”

The Denver Homeless Leadership Council is continuing a 35 year pattern that homeless people themselves have grown to truly resent. Mayor’s Task Forces, HUD Coordinating Boards and now local Leadership Councils keep trying to rearrange the chairs on the deck of the Titanic. All the while professing “they” know best what it is homeless people need and if the City would just give them more money, they could fix all the homeless people and make the problem of homelessness go away. Even a cursory glance at the Federal budgets for Housing and Poverty programs clearly documents that it is going to take more than another “remodeled” shelter system or a new 5Year Plan, 10Year Plan, Chronic Homeless Plan, Navigation Center or Coordinated Intakes to turn the tide of the continually growing numbers of people in our communities with no alternatives but to band together and fend for themselves.

Even if the city funded all the projects named in the Leadership Council and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless statement, this would not house – or shelter, which is not comparable with housing – even half of all those in need in Denver right now. People will still be living on the streets.

True leadership would be to defend the right of people, regardless of their housing status, to conduct the life sustaining activities that every single one of us most conduct, and that most of us, at least for now, are able to do in the comfort and privacy of our homes. To both recognize that criminalization of rest causes harm on the homeless community, and at the same time take no action, make no demand or even suggestion to end this inhumanity – this is not leadership.

Homeless people did not conduct a dastardly plan to create homelessness in America nor has the Human DNA changed such that living outside is considered a cool and desirable thing to do.

When Congress approved President Reagan’s 1980, 1981 and 1982 Budgets that almost wiped out Federal funding for low income housing programs, there were NO homeless people in either the House or the Senate voting on those budgets. Just the opposite, by 1983 there were people protesting in the streets against these cuts! Just as in 1998 when Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, Welfare Reform Bills (Contract With America), poor and homeless people had no vote on that either. Clearly we must all admit, Homeless people did not create contemporary homelessness.

So the question then is – Why are homeless people the only ones who are going to jail for the fact that homelessness exists? Homeless people are demonized, ostracized, dehumanized and inevitably criminalized merely for living in a era when our government, over the last three decades, has decided to abandon any pretense of a social safety net.

This pattern of negligence, also known as “Trickle Down Economics” has massively benefited and enriched the wealthiest Americans and corporations, over the same three decades. Homelessness is the price we pay when policies and funding priorities are intended not to serve ALL people but to disproportionately benefit those deemed more worthy of government largess.

In this environment, a plethora of non-profit corporations/coalitions and think tanks have formed to serve as middlemen between those on the benefitting end of the status quo and those suffering the degradation of neo-liberal politics.

They are funded through the charity of wealthy families and corporations and/or government grants, and while they are expected to “deal with” or “take care of” the homeless they are also – ALWAYS – cognizant of where their paychecks are coming from and they recognize the inherent power dynamics that are at play. They are being paid to do their job and deal with the problem – it is now their problem and not a systemic issue of a government lacking in humanity.  For 35 years, they have claimed that they are doing a good job, if only they had more money they could do even better, the system (as long as they are being funded) is just fine – we will rehabilitate poor people to “fit back into society.” – The claim, and the unspoken ask in their statement on the Right to Survive Initiative, is that, “With just a few more grants our coordinated intake specialists and motivational case managers can fix this lickety split!”

Homeless people and their allies put the Right To Survive Initiative on the ballot ourselves because we know that those who profess to be our leaders and who pontificate on our behalf do not work for the systemic change that is so blatantly required to actually address the causes of homelessness and not just the aesthetics of our existence.

In the statement they say they don’t like the divisiveness of the campaign and wish people would just “work together.” The only people who win by not being divisive are those with money and power who strive to maintain the status quo. As poor and homeless people, we don’t have that privilege. We have to fight for our rights. We cannot stand for a status quo where people cannot use a blanket to stay warm. We cannot stand for a status quo where being visible and poor is a crime.

We all need to sleep, rest, eat and protect ourselves from the elements, when we are doing so in a NON OBSTRUCTIVE manner, where is the crime?

With this being Women’s History Month, maybe the leadership council would do well to heed the words of a famous suffragette, Susan B. Anthony…

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, can never bring about reform. Those really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with the despised and persecuted ideals and their advocates and bear the consequences”

Signed,

Western Regional Advocacy Project – wraphome.org – wrap@wraphome.org

Denver Homeless Out Loud – denverhomelessoutloud.org – info@denverhomelessoutloud.org

LANDMARK SETTLEMENT REACHED IN THE DENVER HOMELESS SWEEPS CLASS ACTION!!

LANDMARK SETTLEMENT REACHED IN THE DENVER HOMELESS SWEEPS CLASS ACTION!!

Rally and Press Conference 1PM

Friday March 1st, 2019, in front of the Federal Courthouse, U.S. District Court of Colorado, 901 19th St, Denver, CO 80294

 

Denver, CO—A landmark settlement has been reached in the Denver Homeless Sweeps Class Action. After almost three years of litigation, the parties have forged an innovative agreement that will be an impactful step forward in protecting the rights and dignity of people living homeless in Denver.

 

“This will mean I can go to live and work with more stability,” says Eric Plaintiff class member. “It is about time the City recognizes we have constitutional rights to our property too – even if all we have fits in a tent.”

 

This class action lawsuit regards the 4th and 14th amendment constitutional rights to one’s property violated in sweeps where homeless people’s property has been seized.

 

The settlement in this case creates policy to defend basic property rights of people living without housing. It gives every homeless person the right to have their property in public space without being subject to seizure by the City without due process and adequate notice. The settlement spells out detailed policy for how notice must be given, how property can be retrieved, and how the city will be held accountable to these policies. In addition to protecting property rights of homeless people, this settlement creates a number of resources for homeless people in Denver including but not limited to lockers, trash cans and increase trash servicing, porta-potties, mobile health unit, better access to Recreation Centers for showers, and more. The settlement also requires the City get input from homeless people at periodic meetings before making changes to the resources in this settlement.

 

The settlement will go through a court process before becoming official. If you are a class member (aka homeless person) your voice can be heard.

 

A press conference will be held with member of the plaintiff class prior to the Final Pretrial Conference at the US District Court of Colorado this 1pm this Friday, March 1, 2019.

Contact:

info@denverhomelessoutloud.org

Class Action Lawsuit Final Pretrial Conference March 1st

Class Action Lawsuit Final Pretrial Conference March 1st

Friday March 1, 2019
Rally 1pm, Hearing 2pm
US District Court of Colorado, 901 19th St Denver
After almost three years of litigation, all issues relating to trial will be addressed at the final pretrial conference on March 1st. Prior to the hearing there will be a rally with speakers, food and more outside the courthouse. Homeless Plaintiff Class members will speak about the violation of their constitutional rights in the City of Denver.
The lawsuit is against the City and County of Denver for violating homeless people’s 4th and 14th amendment rights when conducting sweeps and seizing people’s property. Evidence has been brought in this case over the past 3 years showing an ongoing practice by the city of sweeps where homeless people’s property is seized.
Due to the cities violation of constitutional rights the City has spent great amounts of money litigating this case. The City will continue to face the possibility of more lawsuits if they continue to violate constitutional rights.
Trial is set to begin March 19, 2019. Stay tuned.

Democratic Party of Denver Endorses Denver Right to Survive Initiative!!!

Democratic Party of Denver Endorses Denver Right to Survive Initiative!!!

February 9, 2019

Denver, CO — The Democratic Party of Denver officially endorsed the Right to Survive Initiative today, voting in favor of supporting the initiative by over 70%.

The Right to Survive Initiative would guarantee people’s rights to protect themselves from the elements, the right for people to share food freely, and will reaffirm people’s right to protection from illegal search and seizure of property, which is also outlined in the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Kevin Brauer brought forth the resolution in support of the Right to Survive, saying “ I am supporting this because I am a Democrat, and as Democrats we should stand with those that are most vulnerable. Anyone of us could end up homeless, and I want to ensure that we do all we can to lift them up, not criminalize them for trying to Survive.”

Colorado Senator Julie Gonzales spoke, “ I am supporting this because homeless people that are directly impacted by the criminalization of poverty brought forth this initiative to secure their Civil Rights.”

The Right to Survive will appear on the Denver Municipal Ballot May 07, 2019.

Right to Housing Summit – Remain, Reclaim, Resist – Feb 2nd !!

Right to Housing Summit – Remain, Reclaim, Resist

Just one week until the Right to Housing Summit…!!
Key Note Speaker Steve Diaz!!
Steve Diaz has been a Community Organizer with the Los Angeles Community Action Network since 2003. Steve was recruited into LA CAN when he was living in a residential hotel in Skid Row, experiencing the issues that people dealing with poverty face daily.  Since 2003, Steve has worked on campaigns to prevent displacement, civil rights abuses of house-less people, and The California Homelessness Bill of Rights campaign. Steve knows what it means to fight for housing as a right.
Full Summit Line Up!!
Steve Diaz – Housing is a Human Right
Global Housing Organizers – More is possible…!
Break out sessions #1 Understanding Housing
The myth of “affordable” housing
Barriers to housing
Legal defense
Housing in the Market
Living without Housing
Break out session #2 ACTION NOW!
Right to Survive
Renters Rights
Community Power and Land Trusts
Building Low/No income Housing
Co-op and Hospitality Housing
Other Work
Closing – Calls to Acton…

Register for Free Here!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/right-to-housing-summit-tickets-54769926324

(unlike the Mayor’s Housing Summit – this summit is free cause people who can’t afford housing can’t afford tickets to housing summits…!)

Check in on facebook Here!

https://www.facebook.com/events/310847262874342/

February 2nd 2019, 1pm-5pm

Red Line Gallery (2350 Arapahoe St)

Announcing Key Note Speaker Steve Diaz!!

Steve Diaz has been a Community Organizer with the Los Angeles Community Action Network since 2003. Steve was recruited into LA CAN when he was living in a residential hotel in Skid Row, experiencing the issues that people dealing with poverty face daily.  Since 2003, Steve has worked on campaigns to prevent displacement, civil rights abuses of house-less people, and The California Homelessness Bill of Rights campaign. Steve knows what it means to fight for housing as a right.

Announcing Full Summit Line Up!!

Steve Diaz – Housing is a Human Right

Global Housing Organizers – More is possible…!

Break out sessions #1 Understanding Housing

The myth of “affordable” housing

Barriers to housing

Legal defense

Housing in the Market

Living without Housing

Break out session #2 ACTION NOW!

Right to Survive

Renters Rights

Community Power and Land Trusts

Building Low/No income Housing

Co-op and Hospitality Housing

Other Work

Closing – Calls to Acton…

The time is now to stand for housing and survival for all. Between now and May a we have to fight for housing and survival rights at the capitol, on the streets, in our communities, and at the ballot. 

Who’s behind this

This Summit is organized by Denver Homeless Out Loud together with…

9to5 Colorado

ASAP

Colorado Cross Disability Coalition

GES Coalition

Atlantis Community

Queen City Co-op

Colorado Village Collaborative

Party for Socialism and Liberation

Family Promise

Denver Foundation

Buck Foundation

and more…

Remain – Reclaim – Resist

Return of Resurrection Village MLK Day Eve

Join us Sunday night January 20th and Monday morning January 21st to honor Dr. King’s vision to organize poor folk in united action for racial and economic justice. On the eve of the Martin Luther King Holiday, Jerry Burton – DHOL member who was recently forced back onto the streets by no fault of his own – will be hosting all who want to survive on the streets as he does every night.

Gathering at 27th and Arapahoe at 7:00 pm

There will be food!
All who want to stay the night are invited – whether you are a housie who wants to experience what it is like sleep on the streets, or someone living on the streets who wants to stay with us in community this night. You can also just come by in the evening or morning to join in solidarity and community.

What to Bring…
If you have your own tent, sleeping bag, tarp that you want to use bring those.

If you do not have your own sleeping gear and need some to sleep we will have some gear there but not enough for all. Anyone living on the streets will have first dibs on using this gear.
If you have the resources to buy gear to use yourself or donate to others in need that is rad!
Who Organized This…
This night of survival and solidarity is organized Occupy Denver and various individual community members, it is supported by us at Denver Homeless Out Loud, and hosted by DHOL member Jerry Burton at the spot he and others survived holding down Resurrection Village in Denver for over a year in 2016/17. Together we all bring our strengths and collective power to continue this campaign for poor people’s economic and human rights.
Dr. King’s vision remains critical to our city today as it was 40 years ago. For more info on Resurrection City of 1968 see here.