DENVER (CBS4) – Homeless people have returned to an area where police in Denver removed their items and shelters Tuesday afternoon.
The homeless camp cleanup occurred in an area where homeless congregate downtown in the Ballpark neighborhood. Officers started warning people they had 24 hours to remove their items on Monday.
The makeshift homeless camps popped up in the area of Lawrence Street and Park Avenue West near the Denver Rescue Mission. On Tuesday the camps and shelters had been cleared out, but they returned hours after police left.
Police and Denver Public Works worked together to remove the shelters and other items piled up on the public property.
Warnings were posted in the area on Monday warning those living on the streets that setting up camps on public property is not allowed.
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Once the flyers were posted the belongings had to be moved in 24 hours. Tarps, grocery carts, clothing and bins that weren’t gone by Tuesday were removed by the city. The belongings will be stored for three months and can be claimed form the Department of Human Services. If no one comes to claim them the items will be destroyed.
It’s not the ban on urban camping that was being enforced, but rather the blockage of public spaces. The City of Denver said the camps had grown so large there were concerns about health and safety.
“It’s a public health hazard, a safety hazard, and so we’ve just got to do what we can to make it safe for everyone in the area,” Jesse Granger with the Department of Human Services said.
Police were in the area early Tuesday giving verbal warnings while some protesters stood by with signs that read “Criminalize Poverty? Wrong Priority!”
Nobody was arrested during Tuesday’s cleanup but there were some shouting matches between area residents and homeless people.
“I don’t have to look at naked people lying in front of my apartment building,” yelled a man who lives in an apartment nearby. “I don’t have to come out the door … and look at poop in front of my door.”
“Because I sleep on the street … (watching) someone else’s stuff get taken isn’t very nice,” a young homeless woman told CBS4.
CBS4 found that those who didn’t return to the area looked for new places a few blocks away, but they feel it’s only a matter of time before they have to move again.