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Area near Denver Rescue Mission restricted because of public health concerns; cleanup underway

Posted at 11:20 AM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 15:36:28-04

DENVER — An area near the Denver Rescue Mission is so filthy that the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment is stepping in.

A few blocks in the area of 22nd and Lawrence are now restricted areas. Public health investigators recently posted signs on light posts informing people of the restrictions. Until further notice, people can only use the area to access businesses and residential buildings. In other words, the homeless can not congregate in the restricted area.

"This is the result of an ongoing concern that we have had about this area," said Ann Williams with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. "It’s not just our concern as public health experts. It’s also the feedback we're getting from the community in this area that reinforced our need to be here."

When Denver7 went along with investigators there was trash and used needles on the ground as well as feces scattered on the sidewalks and on grassy areas.

"That kind of waste is what can contaminate our water," Williams said.

The restricted area could be in place for several days. The DDPHE said homeless outreach and assistance is still a priority but when public health is at risk, immediate action is warranted.