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Residents worry about growing homeless camp in front of Denver's Morey Middle School

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 20:07:36-04

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DENVER -- Tents line the sidewalk surrounding Morey Middle School and neighbors are fed up with the growing homeless camp.

"There are several encampment areas in the city where we’re seeing unsafe, unhealthy, and unclean conditions. This site is among them," said Nancy Kuhn, a spokesperson for the City of Denver.

Several residents reached out to Contact7 to express their concern about drug use, trash and fighting in the area.

"Just in the last couple weeks it’s gotten really bad. They have to do something before the kids go back to school, it’s so unsafe," said neighbor Kira Wendrych.

Wendrych said she has watched people do drugs near her home and a man relieved himself on her front steps. She has called police twice.

"The other day we had to take off the handle on the spigot on the side of our buildings because they were using our water to bathe. They were mad that we took the knob off the spigot so they actually started peeing on our basically doorstep because they were mad," said Wendrych.

Over the past month, the Denver Police Department responded to 26 calls for service in the 800 block of E. 14th Ave. All of those calls involved people who were experiencing homelessness and 20 calls involved trespassing complaints.

“I mean, it’s a complex issue but something needs to be done," said neighbor Dillon Richardson.

Contact7 also reached out to Councilman Chris Hinds who represents the area. A staff member said Hinds is spearheading a virtual town hall to discuss the causes and symptoms of homelessness, with a focus on the tents set up near the school. She said their council office has received a high volume of emails regarding this specific encampment.

A spokesperson for Denver Public Schools released the following statement:

In a spirit of care, concern and compassion for all, we understand that homelessness has no boundaries, including impacting young children and families. Homelessness continues to be a significant concern for many families in Denver, and we understand that city officials are working hard to address this challenge. At the same time, Denver Public Schools takes its responsibility for the safety and well-being of our students as a top priority. Principals at both schools on the Morey Campus are working with the City of Denver and DPS support teams, including the Depts. of Safety and Facilities, to help resolve the situation before school resumes in the fall.