National Press Advisory – Denver’s Right To Survive, Measure 300 ballot initiative
April 27, 2019
Terese Howard, Denver Homeless Out Loud Co-founder, email@example.com;
(415) 517-5603. www.denverhomelessoutloud.org
Raffi Mecuri – Measure 300 Campaign Organizer, firstname.lastname@example.org, (720) 755-3647. www.denverrighttosurvive.org
National contact: Paul Boden, email@example.com (415) 430-7358
Denver, Colorado: Homeless people and their allies are taking their fight to the voters of Denver Colorado. Truly a first in the nation, Denver’s Measure 300, the Right to Survive Initiative, is before the voters of Denver and will be voted on this May 7th.If being homeless is not a crime, why are people with no homes being criminalized and having their belongings confiscated when they attempt to sleep? Since homelessness first re-appeared in mass, during the early 1980’s, local governments have used police departments and city public work’s crews to remove homeless people from sight – and from the homeless person’s perspective, from their communities.
Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) led a petition drive and collected almost 10,000 signatures, more than enough to ensure this important civil rights measure will be on the ballot and considered by the community. DHOL’s mission is to work with and for people who experience homelessness to help protect and advocate for dignity, rights, and choices for people experiencing homelessness.
While major corporate interest groups have raised a record breaking $1.5 million, $200,000 from the Downtown Denver Partnership, to defeat Measure 300, the outcome of the May 7th election is still too close to call. One poll undertaken by Denver business groups had a 56% approval for the initiative.
The right for people, housed and unhoused, to live free of Police harassment is a fundamental issue for all people. Thanks to groups such as DHOL and the Western Regional Advocacy Project (www.wraphome.org), as well as new research, investigative journalism and public records requests, an increasing number of the general public are learning about this rapidly growing and ubiquitous human rights issue as cities throughout the US criminalize unhoused neighbors for activities we all perform every day. Sitting, standing still and sleeping protected from the elements in a non-obstructive manner is at the forefront of today’s civil rights struggles.
Homeless people didn’t decimate federal funding for affordable housing, the Federal Government did. And now, for the first time anywhere, the people of Denver Colorado have an opportunity to demand their city stop criminalizing unhoused neighbors for the fact that homelessness exists.
After 35 years of asking politicians for help and litigation in the courts to defend our rights, The Right To Survive Initiative – Measure 300, puts the issue front and center to the voters.