Businesses Say Denver Dropped The Ball On Homeless Camping Ban
DENVER (CBS4) – Some Denver businesses admit they’re having buyer’s remorse. They say they bought Denver City Council’s line last year when the city wanted support to keep people from sleeping on the 16th Street Mall.
Opponents of Denver’s urban camping ban call it an ordinance against homelessness. On Tuesday protestors marched in front of downtown businesses that supported the urban camping ban. Some businesses have changed their minds about the ban because it’s affecting their business.
The popular breakfast restaurant Snooze in downtown Denver says the last couple of Sundays their brunch has been disrupted by protesters who are angry with the restaurant’s support of the camping ordinance.
Snooze is located just down the street from the Denver Rescue Mission, one of the largest homeless shelters in Denver.
“We have a human rights problem in Denver right now with homeless people who are made more vulnerable by this ban,” protester Antony Hebblethwite said.
The ban hasn’t stopped homeless people from camping in city limits. A fire at a church Monday is suspected to have been started by a homeless man sleeping in the bushes outside.
Councilman Albus Brooks says the urban camping ban is working.
“We’re in this for the long haul and this ordinance was always supposed to be the first step to many of solutions,” Brooks said.
Some businesses that supported the ban expected more to be done in the last year. They say they were promised Denver would provide more services and resources for shelters, mental health, and general assistance to the homeless population.
The operators of Snooze say Denver hasn’t lived up to the bargain.
“The urban camping ban has not provided these opportunities and should be repealed or amended to more effectively meet the needs of our homeless community,” Snooze said in a statement.
Brooks says Denver has added 400 beds to area shelters. He says the city is trying to get a sustainable funding source for more progress.
“Every major city deals with this issue and we’re trying to figure this out, and I think we’ve done enormous work for the last five years,” Brooks said.
Homelessness became an issue late during the legislative term. The former Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas is slated to become a homeless rehabilitation center. Sponsors of that bill say the issue needed a statewide solution.