DENVER (CBS4) – A proposed camping ban to stop the homeless from sleeping on sidewalks in Denver is drawing heated debate from all sides of the issue.

The second reading of the proposal will be read before the entire city council on Monday. Audience members openly argued with Denver leaders on Saturday over the proposed ban at a neighborhood meeting.

The debate over the council’s camping ban has been contentious from the beginning. Its opponents argue the ban will effectively make homelessness illegal in the city.

Denver Police Chief Robert White says his department would only enforce the policy on a case-by-case basis. He said people not causing some other disturbance would not be cited by police.

It’s unclear if the ordinance will pass.

City councilwoman Susan Shepherd attended Saturday’s forum as an audience member. She pledged to do whatever she could to kill the policy.

“If we want to be a compassionate city, a compassionate city, we need to figure out the service piece first, then we figure out enforcement. That’s the way it is,” Shepherd said.

Some council members say the city would not have addressed a camping ban if it were not for the rise of the Occupy Denver movement. Some of those people said they were planning a march through downtown Denver Saturday evening.

Critics of the council’s camping ban blame the city for not providing enough room in shelters for the homeless population.


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