Property owners say growing homeless population turns alleyway into toilet, keeps away new tenants

Posted at 9:58 PM, Aug 03, 2017

DENVER -- Nearly three out of four homeless people have jobs and one in five are seniors, mostly women, according the City of Denver.

Tiny home villages and shelters have been built up to help what seems like a growing homeless population, but now local property owners say it's getting so bad, their alleyway has become "a toilet" and say it's difficult finding new tenants.

Encounters in the alleyway between his condo and where he parks his car is part of the day-to-day for downtown homeowner Jordan Rath.

"They started a fire over here, which was a bit concerning because I don't think they are licensed pyrotechnics or anything," said Rath.

The building, located on the corner of 22nd and Arapahoe, is more than 100 years old and was recently renovated. There's even a quaint little restaurant on the first floor, but just around the corner, the change in scenery is quite remarkable.

"I've seen people shooting up drugs in our ally. One girl had a needle straight through her finger. So it can get pretty unsafe at times," said Rath.

Jordan sits on the HOA board for his building and says one of his fellow property owners is having trouble finding a tenant because the homeless population living on the surrounding streets and in the alley way is creating not only an eye sore, but a stench anyone he can hardly stomach.

"Our alley becomes kind of a toilet for them. [I] Saw someone trying to take a shower in our alley last week. Not sure how they are pulling that one off."

Jordan told Denver7 he has called police on several occasions when things get out of hand. He says they always respond quickly, but feels this is a larger problem with a not-so-easy fix they hope the city does more about.

"There is an emerging homeless population and then there’s an emerging drug population and when you get a large congregation of both those populations together, usually it leads to pretty unsafe things. And again it's not just happening on our corner here," said Rath.

Last May, the city launched a new program to help the homeless population not just with housing, but health services and workforce training. Last year, the city invested more than $47 million on programs meant to help the homeless community get on their feet.

For more information about the City's plan, visit this website.