DENVER (CBS4) — The City of Denver is not enforcing the urban camping ban since a county judge threw out a case late last year. However, on Tuesday, city officials showed they are not backing down on moving the homeless to make the streets clean.

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But, with the temporary moratorium on the enforcement of the camping ban, CBS4 found the homeless are spreading out.

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Denver’s Civic Center Park is no place to call home, but this tent city is growing. With the urban camping ban unenforced the homeless can sleep easier for now.

Vincent Brown says he is employed, but can’t afford an apartment. He welcomes the relief from being disturbed by police.

“I can actually pitch my tent and keep warm at night and lay my sleeping bag wherever I may need so I can survive,” he told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

To many who pass by, it’s an troubling sight. A homeless camp nestled between the seats of city and state government.

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Pastor Tyler Kaufmann has been ministering to the homeless here for years through the AfterHours United Methodist Church. CBS4 asked why the homeless congregate in the area.

“There’s a lot of resources, needle exchange, [the] opportunity to get meals down here,” he said.

The homeless have not been given free reign. As demonstrated Tuesday, the city is still doing cleanups.

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Under a court agreement, notice must be posted days in advance to move those away for sanitary reasons or obstructions.

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Nancy Kuhn spoke for the city as garbage was being collected and sidewalks cleaned.

“We try to connect with services then ask them to move their things,” she said.

But with the urban camping ban not being enforced for now some are moving into trendy neighborhoods like Cheesman Park.

Jerry Long was sweeping up leaves as a homeless man was cleaning up his encampment nearby.

“I’ve been in the neighborhood 20 years and I notice a gradual change with more of them.”

The homeless man named Dennis said people have been good to him there.

“They bring us food clothes two bags of clothes right down the street people are great,” he said.

A blessing for some, an eyesore for others, and a court appeal for the city.

 

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Rick Sallinger