On Wednesday June 17th 2020 the City, using the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE), is planning a sweep and closure of all the encampments along 22nd, Stout, and Champa. There are about 97 tents in this area which means roughly 250 people. These are the very same camps that just tested for COVID and found zero positive cases. They are planning this sweep without even replying to the demand of the camp residents that decision makers with DDPHE come to the streets and meet with them to hear the needs of residents and how to really address health and safety needs. They are planning this sweep without giving any reply to the letter we sent laying out solutions to the issues they raised (see attached). They are planning this sweep regardless of CDC guidance which states that encampments should not be swept during COVID and instead bathrooms and handwashing stations should be provided.
This sweep and closure also goes directly against the agreement from the Mayor’s office to “not displace people or their property during this emergency” and then later the agreement to allow people to return to the area after a sweep. The Mayor will not stop lying to us.
Why are they doing this?? To try and push people out of sight out of mind, to appease businesses and neighbors, and to make it look like they are doing something about visible homelessness as is directed by Mayor Hancock. Will they achieve their goals with this sweep? NO. Is this about Health and Safety as they say it is? NO. As is shown in the COVID test results where 0 people test positive at encampments, whereas at least 106 have tested positive at shelters, it is healthier for people to stay outside in a tent than in a shelter. Yet, regardless of all the evidence DDPHE and the City are still telling people to go to leave their tents and go to shelters.
Again we must make these demands the City and DDPHE:
• Schedule a meeting with a decision maker in DDPHE to with encampment residents before Wednesday (contact us at DHOl to schedule this street meeting).
• Start meeting the actual health and safety needs of encampment residents by providing trash cans, dumpsters, port-a-potties, handwashing stations, and other sanitation needs.
• Call off the Sweep!! Start investing in HOUSING not SWEEPS.
Please contact the Mayor’s office at 720-865-9000 or via the form at https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/mayors-office/contact-the-mayor.html
Please contact the DDPHE at Bob.McDonald@denvergov.org