DENVER (CBS4) – A large, new homeless encampment may be forced to move as the city of Denver plans another cleanup operation. There are more than 90 tents around 13th Avenue and Logan Street in Denver’s Capitol Hill.
CBS4’s Rick Sallinger has been covering the plight of the homeless and the city’s efforts to deal with it. He met one woman on Monday who had tears in her eyes. Her name is Trish (she declined to give her last name).
The mother of two says she used to work processing medical bills. Now this is her home at least for the moment.
A city planned cleanup is set to begin on Tuesday. Residents of the encampment rallied in advance.
Trish told those gathered for a news conference and protest, “We don’t want to be out here, but some of us don’t want to be in there.”
She referred to shelters. This wasn’t just an exercise in raising voices.
A new lawsuit was filed in federal court challenging the city and state actions. Andy McNulty an attorney with Killer, Lane and Newman is representing Homeless Out Loud.
“Not only sweep our unhoused neighbors, but enforce the camping ban to consistently tell people to move along,” he said.
He claims sweeps like the one in Lincoln Park by the Capitol in July are unconstitutional. Items have been taking away during the sweeps and that proper advance notice has not been given under terms of a previous court settlement.
The sudden presence of this encampment in Capitol Hill has brought complaints, but also support. Some who have homes came to protest the cleanups.
“People in our neighborhood feel for the homeless people and yet call them criminals,” said Alexis Valeriano Hernandez.
Other neighbors complained to CBS4 of vandalism, theft, fires and drug use here.
Trish said there is an atmosphere of negativity.
“You’ll feel it, you’ll see it when you walk across the street because it’s so sad because nobody knows what to do.”