Our mission is to get the voice of the homeless community into the public and ensure decisions that are made about homelessness are directly informed by the experience of homeless people. This means gathering input and expertise directly from the streets and shelters and making that information heard. This means going directly to the city and state decision makers as houseless people and making our collective voice heard. See the findings of some of our street surveys with the voices of thousands of people who are homeless in our reports (on the main page). Watch video interviews and speak outs with the voices of hundreds of houseless people on our youtube channel. Make your voice heard!
Being forced to live without a home is not a crime – but it is treated as such in our society. Laws and practices criminalizing people for doing things you have to do to survive (sleep, sit, eat, etc.), and that you have to do in public space when you do not have a home, are being passed and enforced against our community every day. We fight this inhumane, ineffective, costly, and unconstitutional criminalization in the courts, on the ballot, in the legislature, and on the streets. See more on our work on this front under Right to Survive, Homeless Bill of Rights, and In the Courts.
Hygiene and Sanitation
Everyone needs water to survive. Everyone has to poop. When you are living without a house you often do not have the ability to meet these basic needs with dignity and safety. We fight to make these basic resources publicly accessible for people surviving on our streets. We ask the city and state governments to provide bathrooms, sharps collection, safe drinking water, trash collection, and other sanitation resources as basic public infrastructure to serve all people – most significantly folks living on our streets who do not have access to these human needs. We do what we can in the meanwhile to provide these resources through community collaboration.
During the 2020 COVID pandemic, we have been providing portable toilets and trash cans to some encampments, along with hand washing stations (in collaboration with Mutual Aid Denver). We are asking the city to step up to their responsibility to provide these resources in line with CDC guidance…but they still have not followed this guidance.
Housing is a human right. Yet, our nation treats housing as a commodity and a privilege only for the rich and white. Our federal government used to fund low-income public housing and we did not have mass homelessness. Then, in the early 1980’s, they slashed the funding for low-income public housing and now we have mass homelessness. If we ever really want to end homelessness we need to bring back low-income public housing at the scale of the need – millions if not billions of Americans are living in poverty and homelessness. Temporary space in shelters is what Denver offers to our poorest neighbors, along with token units to house a handful of people here and there as political cover. As DHOL, we work to fight for housing for all at the city, state, and federal levels. We continually push city council to move funding from police, shelters and our bloated administration into housing for low and no-income people.