Residents of Denver's Civic Center neighborhood concerned with spike in transient population

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jul 03, 2019

DENVER — Residents of the Golden Triangle district in Denver's Civic Center neighborhood say they are seeing an influx of transients, and the increase is sparking debate over what the city is doing to control the issue.

Officials with Denver's Road Home, a city department, says they are aware of the population shifting into different neighborhoods and say more than $10 million is being spent on improving spaces people can stay throughout the day.

David Weatherly just moved to Denver with his son three days ago. Both of them have been homeless for years.

"There are no jobs in Pueblo, so we came up here to Denver where there are more job opportunities," Weatherly said.

At last count, about 3,500 people are experiencing homelessness in the city and county of Denver, and surrounding communities are beginning to notice.

Shelly Ferneau moved to the Golden Triangle area more than a decade ago. She's worried the area has changed for the worst.

"I would say in the last six months [I've noticed] an uptick of campers," Ferneau said.

Ferneau said a block from her home, and next to a construction site, homeless people have gathered and put up tents with their belongings on the sidewalk.

Transients going into well-off neighborhoods will often find side streets and alleys to spend the night, often wanting to be left alone.

Weatherly said it's hard to find a place to spend the night when police are always moving them from place to place.

"Cops are always chasing us off," he said. "We're just trying to find a place to lay down. They won't let us sleep in the parks, and so we'll go in the alleyways into any little nook we can find."

The city says 85% of homeless people take shelter or transitional housing opportunities each night.

The Golden Triangle District says they've invited community resource officers from Denver police to continue the conversation and find a solution for their next board meeting on July 11.