Mayor Michael Hancock has directed the Denver Police to sweep away every homeless person sleeping, having “too many” belongings, or otherwise trying to survive outside in public space. These sweeps are devastating our community. It can hardly be called anything other than a “war on homeless people.”
The sweep on March 8th, 2016 by Broadway and Lawrence was just his kick off. Under the Mayor’s direction, police have been on streets throughout the entire city every day and night telling people to move along, waking people from sleep, and taking belongings.
Every morning or night this week police have come to the public land where people have been sleeping (awaiting land for Resurrection Village: a self governed tiny home village for people currently without homes) and told everyone to wake up, move along, and giving written warnings for violation of the camping ban. At this spot no one is encumbering the sidewalk, and the area is kept clean by those staying there. The only law being broken is the “camping ban” (better named survival ban) which makes it illegal to cover yourself with anything other than your clothing. After the sweeps by Samaritan house, many of those displaced from there, came to sleep at this spot, but with nightly awakenings and move alongs by the police many of people have wondered to other spots in hopes of finding some place to rest. Police have also been sweeping people sleeping by the river, along 16th st, and all over the city. People are being followed around the city by police told to move every time they lay down to rest. This MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY.
We need rest. We are not “camping,” we are surviving. We have to exist somewhere. The city can’t force us into the shelters as if they were a new kind of jail. We have a right to survive.
We are demanding Mayor Hancock Immediately End the Sweeps and Confiscation of People’s Belongings.
Furthermore as a city we must…
- Repeal the Camping Ban and Pass a Right to Survive
- Instead of spending city money criminalizing homelessness allocate public funds for homes and underutilized public spaces for alternative housing models
We will not be hidden. We need homes not sweeps.
**Mayor Hancock directed these sweeps, not the City Council. Many City Council members are against the camping ban and many were not on council when it was voted in. Please remember council members will have opportunity to vote in favor of these needs so let them know why you want them to vote yes.
Sign the Petition to Demand Mayor Hancock End the Sweeps