Urban camping ban: Denver City Council delays vote -- for a week
As the ban moves forward, officials at Denver's Road Home hope to guarantee additional shelter extensions by classifying the situation as an emergency -- a designation that provides special opportunities. For example, this move would include beds at the Crossroads, which is currently scheduled to close on May 1. But while part of the council argued for extra time to guarantee bedding and other resources before voting on the bill, councilman Albus Brooks, the ban's head supporter, was not among them.
Councilwoman Debbie Ortega told the meeting she was "pissed off" at the lack of transparency surrounding the subject, particularly in regard to the number of beds available for those the ban would displace. For example, today's meeting was the first time she and other council members were made aware of an extension that means 100 extra beds will continue to be available at the Denver Rescue Mission through June.
Along with council members Shepherd and Robin Kniech, both of whom support the Commission For Homelessness's consensus calling for four more weeks, Ortega spoke with Mayor Michael Hancock's office about concerns over the funding behind the ban. Shepherd says the group "did not get anything more than some vague promises."
As scheduled, the aforementioned May 14 meeting comes only two days after the Inter-Neighborhood Council will hold its own discussion of the ban. Councilwoman Judy Montero expressed concern that individual neighborhoods have not had enough opportunity to speak to the topic.
"I didn't even have grey hair when I started this," she joked before getting serious. "We're applying some of the same thinking and expecting different results. We already know what's going to happen because we've seen it again and again."
In the meantime, the homeless commission's shelter subcommittee is also meeting this afternoon -- with many of the same officials. The full committee is not scheduled for another meeting until after the city council's final vote on the ordinance.
More from our Politics archive: "Urban camping ban: Albus Brooks calls it an emergency."