Ballot Measure Doubles Down on Denver Homeless Camping Ban
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
DENVER -- A growing number of tents popping up in neighborhoods across Denver have made it harder to ignore a chronic and expanding housing crisis in Colorado and across the U.S.
An initiative approved for Denver's Nov. 2 ballot calls for the city to crack down on campsites, and to build sanctioned sites with running water, toilets and lighting on public property.
Cathy Alderman, chief communications and public policy officer at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, said the proposal amounts to an empty promise, because it fails to allocate land and other resources necessary to create safe outdoor spaces.
"We know camping-ban enforcements and extreme measures like the one proposed do nothing to resolve homelessness," Alderman contended. "They do not provide resources to get people into safe spaces and into housing."
Initiative 303, proposed by Garrett Flicker, chairman of the Denver Republican Party, would require written permission from owners to camp on private property, and the city would have 72 hours to respond to complaints.
Denver currently is not enforcing a camping ban already on the books. A county court ruled the law was cruel and unusual punishment in a case that could be taken up by the Colorado Supreme Court.
If voters approve Initiative 303, Alderman worries enforcement will fall hardest on the city's most vulnerable residents.
"Any time you have an enforcement mechanism that is targeted at people experiencing homelessness, it is going to disproportionately impact those who are more likely to experience homelessness, which often are people of color," Alderman explained.
Alderman pointed to a number of local, state and federal proposals meant to reverse decades of disinvestment in affordable housing as a better strategy to end homelessness. She said if the city implements 303, it actually will take resources away from motel vouchers and other tools that are effective in helping people find their way into permanent housing.
"So if the city is having to respond to every call about every tent every time someone sees one, they are not going to be able to send people out to resolve issues, they're just going to be sending people out to move people around," Alderman asserted.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Most people probably never give a second thought to their visits to the dentist, but not everyone can navigate this process with ease. People with …
Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and toy drives around the country are in full swing. A North Dakota organizer shares some things to …
A federal judge in Nevada has dealt three tribal nations a legal setback in their efforts to stop what could be the construction of the country's larg…
Hoosiers could get their holiday trees from any of about 200 tree farms in the state, according to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association…
Reports from the Insurance Commissioner's office and the state Attorney General reveal an analysis of what they call "the true costs of health care" i…
Health and Wellness
The holiday season is filled with recipes passed down from years before, and feasting with family and friends. But think again before you have …
Connecticut lawmakers are reluctant to approve new emission standards that would require 90% cleaner emissions from internal-combustion engines and re…
Another controversial move in Florida's education system is a proposal to drop sociology, the study of social life and the causes and consequences of …