After four years of Denver's Unauthorized Camping Ban, our city is no closer to ending homelessness. The vulnerable men, women, and children living on our streets have been pushed farther into areas without services, and handed citations for actions they did not choose and cannot control.
The people of Denver have suffered as more individuals and families are pushed to our streets in this pricey housing market and a historically unequal economy. Instead of responding with compassion, Denver’s elected officials have pursued policies that criminalize the victim. This response to homelessness is inadequate, ineffective, and immoral.
We request that Denver City Council and the Mayor’s office take swift action to immediately suspend enforcement of the Camping Ban and Encampment Cleanup procedures -- known as the homeless “sweeps” -- that were passed in 2012 and ramped up in 2016. We request this suspension be for a term of no less than six months, starting immediately and extending until May 2017.
Additionally, we request that, as part of or in connection to the comprehensive plan required by Bill 16-625 which created Denver's Permanent Affordable Housing Fund, the city develop a plan to ensure adequate and dignified affordable housing is available for all people -- particularly those who currently lack access.
Finally, we ask the city to work with us in developing policies that:
1. Make the dignity and rights of people experiencing homelessness central.
2. Expand affordable housing development while also thinking outside the developer's toolbox to scale up new housing and create genuine community.
3. Make life outside as safe and hygienic as possible.
4. Offer smart, trauma-informed outreach care to those who suffer on our streets.
The Alternative Solutions Advocacy Project (ASAP) formed in March 2016 when a broad coalition of people experiencing homelessness, service providers, shelter networks, funders, homeless advocates, business leaders and faith leaders from across the Denver metro area came together out of shared frustration and a resolve to create change.
Our collective mission is to build a broad based coalition of leaders in order to create alternative safe, secure places for people to live with dignity, self determination and connected community.
We need everyone's voice raised to say "It's time for change!" Denver's policy is morally indefensible, costly, and it's flat out failed. Tell Mayor Hancock to suspend enforcement and propose something dignified that actually works.