Ballpark neighbors against homeless-day-center proposal take their protest to city council

urbancamping.jpg
Claire Delahorne
A homeless man on the mall two years ago, before the urban camping ban.
It was two years ago that Denver City Council passed a ban on urban camping, promising to offer new services for the homeless population that would be pushed off the 16th Street Mall and out into nearby neighborhoods. For two years, residents of the Ballpark neighborhood watched as more and more homeless migrated to their streets -- but no new services were introduced. Tonight, Denver City Council will finally consider a financing proposal that would allow the Denver Rescue Mission to open a day-care center where the homeless could congregate...but in the meantime, businesses and residents in Ballpark have built up a major head of steam.

Part of what's making them so hot is that the city ignored their requests for a meeting for months. "We want to make it clear to the city that we are strongly and uniformly opposed to any new or expanded social services in our neighborhood, which already bears more than its fair share of homeless services," the Ballpark Neighborhood Association wrote the Mayor's Office in July. But they never got their requested sit-down with the mayor, and a meeting with his aides in March got rather rancorous.

Ten days ago, the BPNA went public with its opposition to the project. Here's the language on the petition the opponents have been circulating:


End homelessness. Don't hide it, Denver.

It's not enough to just hide homelessness in Denver. Let's end it for good.

We energetically support the goal of Denver's Road Home to end homelessness. Nine years into the 10-year plan, there's still much work for all of us to do. Yet quick fixes will not provide the best long-term solutions for our city, or our citizens. Therefore:

• We oppose the proposal to spend $8.6 million on the so-called Lawrence Street Community Center, a largely outdoor facility that would temporarily hide homeless people in a courtyard behind 10-foot walls adjacent to the Denver Rescue Mission's Lawrence Street Shelter without providing additional services to help end homelessness.

• We support directing our community's limited resources to address the root causes of homelessness through comprehensive strategies like long-term housing, treatment and job training.

Denver can't afford to treat homeless people as a problem to be swept under the rug, warehoused, or pushed to one neighborhood or another. An open, transparent, and measured public dialogue on this issue will help our community identify long-term solutions to help all Denver residents prosper, no matter what challenges they may face. Instead of settling for Band-Aids and a rushed public review process, let's join together to focus Denver's limited resources on ending homelessness for the good of the entire community.

Ballpark neighbors will rally at the Denver City & Council building at 5 p.m. tonight, then attend the meeting, where councilmembers are slated to vote on the financing proposal for the center.

From our archives: "Mayor Hancock strikes out with the Ballpark neighborhood."

Have a tip? Send it to patricia.calhoun@westword.com.


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340 comments
matthew313
matthew313

let's just ship all the homeless to colorado springs and call it a day

vpetunin
vpetunin

The ability of young people to be able to live in in that neighborhood is directly tied to the sketchiness. I would think it is fairly obvious to residents, if not owners, of this area that they should seek to expand social service projects there a much as possible. I live there because it was the cheapest place to buy within walking distance of work. That's it.

Heather Doozer
Heather Doozer

John Elliot had me banned, changed his comments, and added others; a good example of how these people only win by cheating. (gee I wonder if he was drunk face booking, was embarrassed when he realized what he'd done, then wanted someone else to pay for his mistake- looks that way to me) Without rent control and tenant's rights landlords raise rents to the highest possible amount, forcing current tenants to leave and allowing only a 'higher class' of citizen to move in. This is a good way to segregate a community by class. Landlords should not have this much control, and the people who create the culture of a neighborhood (which is usually what makes it popular in the 1st place) should not be pushed out. Tenant's rights are especially important with the growing number of large complexes and management companies as these are just faceless businesses that don't give a fuck about you and have already proven that they will take advantage of tenants whenever possible.

Emily McCurdy
Emily McCurdy

I lived in that neighborhood for years, not once did a homeless person bother me. They would talk to me, hardly bothersome... One man I met had been an engineering professor who was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia and due to cultural issues was estranged from his family. He couldn't retain his job and was still trying to find the right balance of medication. Interesting human being, shitty circumstances. Another time I had an accident on my bike, the only person who helped me was a homeless man standing nearby. True sometimes it's hard to see people suffering, that doesn't mean they are an afront to your interests. Don't remedy the symptom, address the problem. People are just people, if you stop looking at them as barriers maybe you'll remember what makes a city interesting.

John Elliott
John Elliott

You're in Austin...you don't have a dog in this fight.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Thank you, ronald reagan, for the homeless problems.  You cut taxes for the rich, cut services for the poor, I don't think America can take any more!

How Reagan Created "The Homeless," & Why Charity Can't Fix It


In 2008, an estimated 2.3 to 3.5 million people will be homeless for some part of the year - & the numbers have been growing. Americans have grown accustomed to seeing people sleeping in the streets of their big cities: the "homeless" seem to be a fact of nature, like the weather.

Yet I remember a time when it wasn't so. Pre-Reagan, in downtown Seattle. Sure, there were poor people downtown - mostly older men. They hung out on the streets around the market, but they didn't sleep there, they didn't even panhandle. They slept in SRO's - single-room occupancy hotels - on 1st & 2nd aves. It was a seedy area, but I was a young girl at the time, & I wasn't afraid to go there.

I left the US at the beginning of the Reagan years & returned in 1985; suddenly we had "homelessness". I was young. The papers said it was "mental patients" & "recession," so I accepted that explanation.

It was only when I got involved with a homeless shelter that I learned how the homeless problem grew from near-invisible to omnipresent in the space of 5 years. Here's the short version, from the "Without Housing" Coalition.

"In 1978, HUD’s budget was over $83 billion.

In 1983, HUD’s budget was only $18 billion.

In 1983, general public emergency shelters began opening in cities nationwide.

In 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Act, providing $880 million in homeless assistance funding (2004 constant dollars).

In short, Reagan deliberately created "homelessness" by cutting 65 billion of housing money & replacing it with $880 million in shelter funding.

Melanie KnottyGal ManifestingExcellence
Melanie KnottyGal ManifestingExcellence

FUCK THEM. There are so many homeless because all those old buildings where they live now used to house a lot of the homeless when they were daily and weekly rentals. If anything they should have a special tax to offset the housing lost to gentrification that the lowest income bracket lost so they could move there.

Lincoln Fox
Lincoln Fox

Lot of hipster jibber-jabber on here. You don't like the homeless in your precious area? Tell your mommy and daddy to move you and gtfo out of beautiful Colorado take your hate mongering back to where ever it is you Trolls come from. I have been homeless in Denver through last years winter. The Denver rescue mission is a a scam. Yes Jesus may save but only until 10pm. I was working a late shift job and constantly had to sleep on the streets because no service in Denver will take you in after dark. The church groups that really do some good help around Christmas time by giving clothes to ensure that the homeless will at least be able to survive. As for the day shelter Father Woody's and the other are so full any given day you don't even have room to stand, a nap? Yea right. Denver desperately needs a new facility. You don't want a new facility? Fine let's keep them all on the 16th st mall where they will be around your children because that's exactly where most of them will be. Where they can pester you for change and food and then you can explain to your children why mommy and daddy are to stuck up self absorbed people to help a less fortunate person. Money and privilege don't buy compassion and understanding or even decency. So you're fancy education your parents bought are wasted because you fail at being a human. Seppuku now and save some face. The first step in getting the homeless off the streets is helping them to help themselves. One of the only reasons I was able to get myself off the streets was by being fortunate enough to meet a friendly couple who had by observing my demeanor and behavior for a few weeks off and on and saw that unlike most homeless people. I was committed to my dream of getting off the streets and working hard to get there. I will always be in the debt of those people and still check in with them to let them know that things are still going great. I guess you can tell who The "Real" Colorado natives are. If you are a native and still have this hate for any less fortunate people in your heart then you just need to leave now because you must have missed the mass memo that went out in the early 90s

Emily McCurdy
Emily McCurdy

" but goddamnit I'm entitled to my gentrification!" "These people are really keeping my property value at a constant.......booohhooohoooo.....I thought I was investing!..waaaaahhhhhhh"

hepcat11
hepcat11

Having lived in Colorado for 40 years, I think the problem is y'all are too young and don't remember that we didn't have "homeless people" back in the day, and I'm talking about the 1960s and 70s -- not like now! 

Oh, sure there were broke people -- lots of them -- but it wasn't that hard to find a job and a cheap place to live. A person usually only needed to spend 25% of their income for an apt back then. My first apartment downtown (12th & Sherman) only cost $95 a month in '75. My north Denver duplex (34th & Eliot) was $225 in '82. There were lots of transient hotels back then, too. It was cheap to rent, expensive to buy, now it's both. 

But $8.2M is still a lot of money, and that's just to build this day care center, there hasn't been a mention of what it's going to cost to operate it. I know full well lots of people make good money working for charities, but what if that money went to actually build affordable places to live all day and night, instead of just a place to hang out during the day? Maybe other folks who are paying the exorbitant rents and mortgages to make other people rich want affordable housing -- there's nothing wrong with that. Maybe the city could start looking at better ways to help them, too -- I can dream, can't I?!

Dan Falliaux
Dan Falliaux

The last thing we need is big brother telling us landlords what we can and cannot charge for rent. How does this help the situation? The market is willing to bear X amount so that's what's charged. Please explain how you think rent control helps?

Heaven Northrop
Heaven Northrop

These people knew where they were moving when they moved there. That makes it their problem.

Melanie Johnson
Melanie Johnson

I think they are in the right. That area is what I call "Zombie Land" because its crawling with zoned out, shuffling human bodies. I have to take all my jewelry off and wear a scowl when I walk through there otherwise I am approached by men who say disgusting things and/or ask for things. There is no reason why these services should be located in the city center. There are plenty of outer lying areas that would be well suited to supporting the homeless population. It almost makes a bit of a display of them, I feel. If you were homeless, wouldn't you rather line up for soup or lodging or methadone without standing out in a main thoroughfare? Its just common sense. Find a better place. There are tons of them.

Heather Lee
Heather Lee

If they don't like homeless people they should have moved the Cherry Creek instead of downtown....

Jack Quinn
Jack Quinn

More empty homes then homeless-someone should use this imbalance and use it to help.

Kirk R. Kelly
Kirk R. Kelly

BTW I take donations Mostly clothes and weed, just sayin I dont need cash, I got myself a job and leave Denver in 6 more days!!!

Kirk R. Kelly
Kirk R. Kelly

Denver rescue mission is a scam as are all or most "church affiliated" homeless services.....they just got 7 MILLION of Denvers Tax money and they dont even give the donated clothes to the homeless that stay there That is all for people in their "program"!!! Be pissed, Denver, I am homeless with a broken leg and the ONLY service they provide is food and a nap!!!

Rachael JewellS
Rachael JewellS

This issue isn't about The Homeless, there will always be homeless people that need services and deserve services and these services co-existed pretty well in the neighborhood until 5 years ago.  Most people don't realize that between 2009 and 2011, a large number of gang members that had been jailed in Denver in the late 80's and early 90's were released after there 20 year sentences and they came back to there old hood to continue the business they were doing 20 years ago - before the Ballpark.  I have owned a business in the neighborhood for 11 years and we never had issues until 2009.  (We opened in 2004.) 

The neighborhood does not want expanded services as the addition does not add beds and will only be open during the day so people will still be left on the street at night...all in one area of town where it's too easy for the predators to prey on the weak as they only have to come to 1 area of town to find these people.  It's truly pack mentality - come watch one night or dress as a homeless and see what happens to you.  You will find "dealers" getting dropped off on 22nd between the alley of Larimer and Lawrence.  They have dark hoodies on and will start to approach those sitting.  You can watch money exchanges.  You can then view "refills" taking place out of cars - it's crazy.    

I personally live in Captiol Hill and know the homeless that sleep in my alley and the group that sleeps in the church entryway across the street... I occasionally give money and food and these homeless are not the type of people that are the problem in the ballpark and these people will NOT go to the ballpark as it's too far from work at Readyman.  The people that are the problem are the former and current gang members and dealers preying on the weaknesses and vulnerability of those less fortunate.  As a city if we truly want to help the homeless, we need to have smaller centers located around town - Capitol Hill, Hale Parkway Hospital area, Highlands, etc.  We need to make it difficult for the predators to prey on these people.  Many are homeless because of addiction problems and by putting them in large group settings it's way too easy to continue down the wrong path.   Honestly - would you want to sleep in a large open room with 100 snoring people?  Is that how you would want to be treated?  Do you really think any of these homeless are getting the treatment needed at these large centers?  No - they are just another face lost in the crowd.  Let's talk to the Rescue Mission about providing smaller venues - talk to your church about opening doors to 10 - 20 people.   For $8 million - I would think that 5 small facilities with actual beds could be built or existing buildings could be renovated. 

If you look at the expansion - $8 million is crazy money to add showers and a courtyard for day use only.  That is the core of the issue - it isn't solving any problems and isn't helping any extra people.  Yes, it does help provide dignity and I'm sure that's why this issue has passed and this addition will be built - but we as humans and Denver citizens - if we are truly humanitarians need to figure out solutions and ways to protect these people that are seeking services.  Because they are preyed upon and picked on way too much in the Ballpark Neighborhood because it's centralized and easy....

Susan Donlan Roy
Susan Donlan Roy

We as a society are only as good as the care for our weakest members. I work with "these people." People only think of them as vagrants. What they don't realize, is a majority of them are mentally ill. Many are war veterans and many have an obscenely high IQ. Sure, many have warrants for their arrest and don't seek out public assistance because of said warrant. Many are drug addicts. Quite a few are alcoholics. Many were sexually abused. Some are dangerous, most are not. Most are over 45. Why? Unlike in the past 20+ years, when these older homeless people were growing up, the tax-payers did not pay for special needs services, including counseling, group homes, job training, mental health care, etc. Parents were responsible for all expenses related to their care. Many who became aggressive or violent were a danger to the rest in the family and couldn't allow them in the home anymore. Sad day for everyone. Families often did everything they could to help their child, sister/brother, mother/dad, etc. Now, mentally/physically disabled children are placed on a group home list when they are in Jr high and move in after attending high school into their early 20's, while receiving life & job skills training. Many of the veterans have a ridiculously high IQ and when they were sent to Vietnam or the Middle East, these people snapped. Completely unequipped to handle any part of the situation they were forced into. Take a step back and re-evaluate who that person is you see living on the street and be thankful you were born with the coping mechanisms you were to handle stress. I have witnessed many acts of honesty and kindness in the years working with "these" people.

Carrie Robbins Packard
Carrie Robbins Packard

I'm not dignifying this conversation with a rebuttal. Blatant stereotyping does no good for anyone involved.

John Elliott
John Elliott

Persecution complex much? Until you have the balls to post, communicate and act under a real name, with a real profile and take real "risks" or accountability for whatever idiocy you're spewing, you have no credibility in this or any conversation. You're just a whiny 8 year old throwing an internet temper tantrum with nothing but name-calling and innuendo to bolster your holier-than-thou yammering. If you had any self-worth, any belief in what you're saying, you'd say it as a real person instead of a cartoon character...but that's all you've got. Cartoonish and buffoonish crying about things you clearly a/ don't experience b/ don't understand c/ don't care enough about to stand behind You are the epitome of irrelevance in this conversation

John Elliott
John Elliott

Where, specifically, do you live? Let's move all of the services and shelters there...

John Elliott
John Elliott

Carrie, you also know as well as I do that there are a LARGE contingent of the homeless who choose to live on the streets, who choose not to access ANY of the services at the shelters and who choose to engage in criminal activity...Gordon, Sherry, Little Mikey, the whole lot of them that "patrol" Larimer Street on any given day. There ARE many homeless - primarily the veterans - who will work...for awhile. I've hired several of them for everything from odd jobs to something more permanent. 8 times out of 10, that last for a week or two and then they are no-shows, come an half-ass a job or come with some story about how they need/want advances on pay for 'whatever'...only to find them passed out drunk or high near the DRM or other places. No, that is not all of them, and yes, the homeless need services desperately, but let's not make this out to be something where a significant element of the homeless population in question DON'T "live off the system". In this city, which spends more per capita on homeless outreach and services than all but a handful of other cities in the nation, there is no such thing as a lack of services - only a lack of beds. Uproot and consolidate the shelters into the hospital complex at 9th & Colorado, redev that site into a cross-utilized services platform and location, and watch both the Ballpark Neighborhood/Curtis Park/RiNo thrive, and watch as there are finally more beds than bodies for the homeless.

Coi Drummond-Gehrig
Coi Drummond-Gehrig

That's exactly where they have always been. That is what you get for pushing out all the poor in the first place.

John Elliott
John Elliott

Whatever, Sammi...like I need to take advice from a post-menopausal Western Slope hippie with a questionable grasp on the English language.

mm-hrmm
mm-hrmm

He own the cheeky monk, your typical lodo douche bro bar. Its not surprising the acted like this. Balding dick.

JimTom
JimTom

@muhutdafuga There was no homeless before 1985. Let's just assume you are partial correct, what has any of the liberals done in the past 30 years to correct the problem? There have been over a decade of liberal control of the Congress, Senate and Presidency during the 30 years since Regan what have they done?  I guess "Hope and Change" are just talk.

MyMotto
MyMotto

You are the reason why us Colorado Natives HATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU! Go back to where you came from.

johnellioteisadouche
johnellioteisadouche

look who is doing the crying, hey-- its YOU! YOURE the one doing all the whining and crying! HA!As a matter of fact, this very post alone is nothing but you being a whiny little bitch

MyMotto
MyMotto

Why don't you move???

johnellioteisadouche
johnellioteisadouche

How about you move to where the shelters are, and then complain and complain and complain and try to move everything away from you? Oh, right-- that already happened- because your dumbass didnt do any research on the cheap shitty condo you moved into. Jackass

johnellioteisadouche
johnellioteisadouche

denver doesnt need anymore transplants like you. You moved into a neighborhood without doing your research, now you cry like the little bitch you are. Too bad, kid. Maybe you should get a nice douchecave in highlands ranch, because your punk ass obviously cant handle living downtown

johnellioteisadouche
johnellioteisadouche

awww Johnny-- we've got you, kid. Poor little douchebag- bought an overhyped cheaply made douche cave and didnt even look at where he was living. Wow, are you one stupid dude. Not to mention you post with your fb page open to the public last night-- you are REALLY stupid.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@JimTom @muhutdafugaWrong, children.  You are not operating in the real, fact based universe.  I gave you the opportunity to correct your errors.  Your lack of response, and even worse, your idiotic little remarks that must have seemed cute to you as you were writing them show one of three things:  You are either liars, stupid, or so cult involved you have become radical right wing nuts.


Poor little jim tom, a perfect goober name..., you've been corrected 100s of times and you still are as stupid as a mud fence.....I just can't fix you!

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@JimTom @muhutdafugaYour feelings are not to be confused with facts.  You need to correct your post before it is worthy of a response.


JDBEJDBE12
JDBEJDBE12

That doesn't even make any sense.  What an idiot.

JDBEJDBE12
JDBEJDBE12

You're a special kind of retarded, aren't you?


JDBEJDBE12
JDBEJDBE12

'Cause I'm not the little pussy hiding behind a fake profile?  Anytime, anywhere...but you're too much of a whiny little c*nt with no balls anyway...nothing you say matters.  Not a thing.


muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@JimTom @muhutdafugaCue up the crickets:  Still no correction.  You are doing what radical right wing "news" outlets like fauKKKs do to manipulate.  You start with a false pretense, a lie, then have a somewhat "reasonable" discussion, only the whole discussion is based on a lie.  Recently on a radical right wing station, they had a very reasonable discussion based on taxes being out of hand, except taxes some of the lowest we've seen in years.  If you accept the lie, it was a reasonable discussion.  If you knew the truth, the silly little cultists were bat shit crazy.

So, are you going to correct your errors/lies?

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@JimTom @muhutdafuga Your questions are not questions, they are errors, with babbling question like rants following your errors.  Once you do your homework, I'll gently lead you down the path of truth.  

While you're at it, what have republicans done to help low income people?  Filibustering the increase in the minimum wage?  Not a very good example for your little cult.  How about the jobs bill, you know the one....remember boner saying a jobs bill would be his top priority....oops, another bad example for you.

Now correct your errors, my child.  Remember, FACTS ARE LIBERAL.
 

JimTom
JimTom

@muhutdafuga Again you have not made any attempt to answer any of my questions as is normal for a liberal that has lots of pie in the sky ideas with no real answer. It is very hard to correct a question which I asked a number of and received no response except liberal babel. Your comment prove you have no idea on any of my previous comments so maybe read up before trying to stereotype someone as liberals always try to do.

mm-hrmm
mm-hrmm

@JDBEJDBE12 Not as retarded as someone like you who buys a crappy condo without checking out the area. Retard.

mm-hrmm
mm-hrmm

@JDBEJDBE12 HA! look at you and your profile. OOHH tough talk on the internet, arent you a badass? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

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