BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) — A week-long City of Boulder effort to physically remove homeless encampments from municipal property culminated Friday with the clearing of about 20 tent residents who set up directly in front of the city’s Municipal Building. This particular group’s camp had been dubbed “Occupy Boulder,” according to the city.
The city’s housing and human service employees, park operations staff and police officer combined Friday morning to offer alternatives to the members of the homeless, who had received “soft” warnings previously and then more urgent, official notices recently. The homeless were asked to participate in the city’s service or “demobilize.”
Six of those in the camp responded by speaking with counselors, and several accepted transportation to a shelter, the city stated in a Friday press release.
The residents’ personal property is being stored by the city for eventual return.
The effort aimed to combine “a balance of compassion, outreach and enforcement.”
Within the living quarters of the camp, however, city workers found drug paraphernalia, knives, hatchets, and multiple five-gallon buckets containing feces.
Temporary fencing was placed around Sister City Plaza as the workers sifted through the camp and collected the trash.
“This is such a challenging issue for Boulder and cities around the country,” City Manager Jane Brautigam. “Many safety nets for individuals have been eroded. It is clear, however, that the kind of conditions these camps create are neither healthy nor safe.”
The city stated it expects new encampments to emerge and still has a list of existing areas that need to be addressed.
The city also asked residents to donate to area non-profits with experience and expertise in homeless support rather than directly gifting food or money to the homeless.