Marijuana tax money could be diverted to help Denver's homeless population

Posted at 5:07 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-28 20:25:37-05

DENVER -- Richard was one of the few in Denver’s homeless population living around the Samaritan House Monday morning who didn’t have his belongings picked up by city works crews and thrown in the back of a trash truck.

The city’s homeless sweeps continue as they’re told to go somewhere else. Now, many are left asking one question. 

“This block is all that they have left, move along to where? To where? Where is going to be safe? You know what I mean?” said Kaz, who lives on Denver’s streets. “These people are angry. All of their things, all of their homes, their clothes, anything warm they have are being taken and thrown in the garbage because what? We don’t make a dollar? We don’t profit Denver?”

Gov. John Hickenlooper recently proposed a plan that may help with just that.

Hickenlooper’s budget plan submitted to state legislators details how $16 million dollars in marijuana tax revenue could be diverted to build permanent housing for some of the city’s chronically homeless.

Right now, marijuana taxes are set aside primarily for law enforcement, health care and substance abuse and addiction programs.

But some people living on the streets said they don’t want to be in shelters and prefer the streets.

“It’s not really a very comfortable setting when you go in there and everybody’s arguing and fighting about a mat that’s on the floor. There’s plenty more and I don’t like all that drama. I’d just rather be out on the streets where it’s quiet,” said Richard.  “They should have something like the Habitat for Humanity and let these homeless build their own house.”

Gov. Hickenlooper’s plan would require a change in Colorado law in order to get off the ground, so expect this to come before the Legislature in next year's session.


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