Photo/El Comercio de Colorado
To be Permited Temporarily
Newsroom El Comercio de Colorado
Mayor Michael Hancock has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced him to temporarily allow the establishment of sanctioned homeless camps in the county and city of Denver. Last year, 80 percent of Denver voters rejected a repeal of Denver’s ordinance prohibiting encampments.
The establishment of these camps would be the solution to the presence of hundreds of tents of homeless people in public areas of the city since March 2019. “That’s why we are permitting temporary, and I emphasize temporary, safe outdoor spaces in more managed, safer, and sanitary conditions where people can be connected to critical services,” said Hancock.
In his annual message on the state of the city, the mayor clarified that, “These encampments cannot persist. COVID-19 is an extraordinary circumstance requiring an extraordinary response.” Describing the camps as temporary housing for the homeless has not convinced Denver neighborhoods to accept the idea. The mayor has failed to get any of the councilors to agree to set up camps in their districts.
The District 9 Case
The place chosen to install the first camp is the Denver Coliseum parking lot. That project has been unable to move forward due to resistance from Globeville and Elyria-Swansea residents. These residents claim that their neighborhood already houses two homeless shelters, one within the Nation Western Complex and the other within the Denver Coliseum. In their neighborhood there is also a tiny home village for homeless.
Candi CdeBaca, councilor of district 9, is considerate of the opinions of neighborhoods she represents. “I will not allow District 9 neighborhoods of color to continue to be a dumping ground for failed administration policies,” she said. However, CdeBaca is evaluating locations other than the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhood to set up an outdoor camp for the homeless.
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