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Report: Urban Camping Ban Is Making Life Harder On Homeless

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A demonstrator outside the City and County Building on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

A demonstrator outside the City and County Building on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – A new report shows Denver’s ban on urban camping is making life harder on the homeless.

The study by a homeless advocacy group found the following:

- 66 percent of the homeless surveyed say the ban has forced them to sleep in more hidden and unsafe locations.
– 37 percent say they often choose not to cover themselves from the elements in fear of being arrested.
– 60 percent say they get less sleep because they are told by police to move.

Critics of the ban protested outside the City and County Building on Tuesday, saying homelessness should not be considered a crime. They now want the city to repeal the camping ban. Others just want the city to make changes and find more shelter space.

“These facts teach us that this ordinance is not working as intended. It is not improving the quality of life of homeless people. It is actually harming the quality of life in various ways,” said study author Tony Robinson. “It is not reducing the number of people sleeping on the streets for the most part. It’s just changing where they sleep, which is in bushes and hidden places.”

A city council committee held a study session to listen to the report.

The study surveyed 512 of Denver’s estimated 6,000 homeless people.

The urban camping ban went in to effect in May of 2012.

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