Urban camping ban: Denver Police Department promises restraint in enforcement
|Yesterday's City Council meeting.|
Stefan Stein, the CEO of Denver's Urban Peak, echoed Colorado Coalition For the Homeless president John Parvensky's call to action of two weeks ago: If affinity groups can not stop the ban altogether, he said, they would advocate that it be amended to forbid prosecution when either shelter or outreach are not available.
"My concern is that people who already spend a large portion of their lies in fear will spend even more of their time in fear as a result of tangling with the law," councilwoman Susan Shepherd said.
It remains true that the city does not boast enough available resources to host everyone who could be displaced by the ban. Right now, this supply includes 1,227 beds, a number that is scheduled to decrease by almost 400 as the season changes. In the meantime, Denver's Road Home is advocating that shelters stay open into the summer.
On the other side are those who favor the ordinance for its potential to keep the city's streets clean and improve local business while urging the homeless to seek shelter. "If not this, what?" asked councilman Albus Brooks, chief supporter of the ordinance. "We're pushing hard on this, but we're not saying what is that solution."
In the last five years of the sit-and-lie ordinance downtown, says White, zero arrests have been made. "I'm sure if you look at sit-and-lie, there were people who believed that ordinance would make people into criminals," White says." Of all the things to worry about, I think that would be the least."
More from our Politics archive: "Urban camping ban heats up packed city council committee meeting."