Denver to clear out homeless camps, again: 7 things you need to know

Posted at 3:40 PM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 01:08:06-05

DENVER - The Denver Police Department plans another sweep of a homeless camp off Lawrence Street and Park Avenue Tuesday morning.

Here are the seven things you need to know:

This is the third sweep in less than a year
There is no indication that sweeps are working. Crews bagged up and cleared out belongings from homeless people who refused to leave the same camps in December of last year and March of this year.

Notice was given
Some point to a lack of notification as a problem, however police say they notified those living in the camps that all belongings must be removed by Nov. 15.

The camps are illegal
The homeless camps are considered illegal under the city’s “urban camping” ban, which became law in 2012. Those found to be breaking the ordinance are given 72 hours to move their belongings.

Advocates say the sweeps are detrimental to the community
Homeless advocates want to end camp cleanups. They say the sweeps are detrimental to the homeless community. Denver Homeless Out Loud said people forced out of the camps are often put in more dangerous situations.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in August on behalf of thousands of homeless people in Denver. The suit alleges that the sweeps have violated the constitutional rights and dignity of those in the homeless community.

Items can be retrieved
The items and personal belongings left behind can be retrieved by their owners. Crews store the items at a warehouse, where people have to show proof of ownership to get them back.

Donations to the city for the homeless won't be used in the future
The city used funds donated to help the homeless to fund parts of the sweeps, including the cost of storing the items retrieved in the March sweeps. However, the city said in July that it would no longer use donated funds to cover the cost of future sweeps, including one planned on Tuesday. 


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