The City Of Denver Sweeps Its Homeless Population Under The Rug

( – The city of Denver is in the spotlight this week as their plan to remove and relocate hundreds of homeless folks who were living near Coors Field draws ire from activists. The Colorado Rockies have their opening game on Thursday, April 6th which inspired the clearing of the homeless camps on Larimer Street nearby.

Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock has taken the brunt of the flak. He’s been criticized for these kinds of homeless sweeps before; as recently as June 2021 when the MLB all-star game was hosted by the city.

A city report from 2021 estimated that Denver spent between $41,679 and $104,201 per homeless individual annually. Activists want to see increased housing availability for those still living on the street and additional trash collection and other services for the folks living in the camps.

Activist Amy Beck wants to see the sweeps stop entirely, with bathrooms, clean water, and regular trash collection provided to the camps. Denver, much like California, has had a severe homeless crisis which has only been exacerbated by the economic fallout of pandemic-related lockdowns.

It will be a key issue in the upcoming mayor’s race, popular front-runner Kelly Brough has said she’ll end the clearing of homeless encampments. She’s been critical of the practice, suggesting it isn’t a long-term solution.

Camp resident, Latesha Witherspoon suggested the practice was deployed to keep the pesky problem swept under the rug. She reported frustration and anxiety over the move, as well as hundreds of individual moves during the past few years of living without a home.

Denver has a long and troubled history of this kind of behavior, in 2008 similar sweeps were enacted just before the Democratic National Convention was held downtown. During that multi-day event, free zoo, bus, and movie tickets were distributed to homeless folks. Shelters had expanded access for the duration of the convention. When party bigwigs come to town, local Democratic leadership likes to put on a good show.

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