DENVER (CBS4) – Aggravating the homeless has been on the rise with no end in sight. A homeless man was stomped on amidst the parade of zombies on the 16th Street Mall last Saturday.
“It wasn’t a permanent injury, but for somebody that’s living on the edge, their anxiety level is such that that in itself is a traumatic experience,” said Dan who only provided his first name and witnessed the event.
Dan was displaced by the Joplin tornado back in May.
Traumatic experiences occur daily. The homeless claim someone from a high-rise building directly above where they camp on the mall wakes them with an air horn, takes their pictures and has aimed a rifle at them from the window.
“When you’re looking up here, and there’s a loaded gun barrel pointing out of a secluded spot, this whole situation could turn into something bad,” said Dan.
Despite the constant harassment, the 16th Street Mall is considered a relatively safe place by the homeless to spend the night. With no space available in shelters, the homeless have found themselves wedged along the buffalo silhouettes, storefronts like the Wild West store and practically any vacant bench.
“There’s no room,” said a homeless woman who did not want to identify herself and asked why she wasn’t in a shelter. “I’ve been calling for the last week, and they’re full.”
Now, there’s a new push to stop the homeless from camping out on the mall. The bid comes from businesses and city council members.
“Last week, I was told we lost a $20 million convention because of problems of homelessness on the mall,” said city councilman Charlie Brown. He hopes to propose an ordinance to ban camping on the mall.
Some people seem to want them out now.
“We were spit on. We were told to leave and go home,” said the homeless woman. “We wouldn’t be here if we had a home.”
LINK: Denver’s Road Home
– Written by Young Kim for CBSDenver.com