DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says some of the people who have camped out around Denver have an agenda that has nothing to do with homelessness. He says those individuals are making it difficult, and even dangerous, for city workers to help those who are homeless.
Hancock can see the tents in Civic Center Park from his office. They have been there for weeks. He says moving them is not as simple as people think. Many of the camps, he says, are infested with diseases and not all the campers are homeless, let alone from Denver.
Hancock says they block city workers from entering the camps and bait police, “This is very intentional. Let’s not play games with the fact that we know there is an agenda behind this and they want to provoke the city, they want to provoke businesses, they want to provoke law enforcement.”
He says he’s worried that arresting them puts police and other people in the camps at risk, “But at same time, we’ve got a job to do and we’re going to do it.”
Among those who have accused the Mayor of not doing his job: Gov. Jared Polis.
“I think anybody, whether it’s the Governor, a U.S. Senator or anyone, who wants to make comments about homelessness in the City of Denver to educate themselves before they open their mouths. Between now and the first part of August, we’re going to have a lot more activity taking place. We’re up against a lot.”
Hancock says while more people are homeless because of job losses, the camps are also due to shelters in neighboring cities closing. He says about a third of the homeless in Denver are from the surrounding area. Still, he says the city has enough beds for all of them. The city has spent nearly $30 million on additional shelter space and will soon open a sanctioned campsite near the Denver Coliseum.