DENVER (CBS4)– In Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, neighbors say that when the Safe Outdoor Space moved in, they hoped the city would crack down on some of the unsanctioned camping. Instead, they feel like so far that hasn’t happened.
People who live there miss the way their neighborhood was just a few years ago.
“It used to be a great place to go to the restaurants and kind of walk the town and the neighborhood,” says one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous.
He says that isn’t what it looks like today, “It’s very disappointing. We’re seeing an uptick in homelessness and trash on the streets.”
A new sanctioned camping site opened just weeks ago near 16th and Pearl across the street from one that was unsanctioned. It was supposed to clean up the area but so far neighbors are disappointed with the results. “I’m not really seeing the effectiveness of this,” says the neighbor.
There still are unsanctioned camp sites popping up around the district and the ones that were there have taken a while to clean up.
“The community’s expectation I think, is that there wouldn’t be any unsanctioned camping anywhere in District 10 as a result of us hosting this site and that it wouldn’t take weeks and weeks to clean up camps that aren’t sanctioned,” says the neighbor.
The City of Denver did clean up the site at 16th and Pearl. Department of Transportation and Infrastructure crews spent several hours at the location this week cleaning up trash and offering people the ability to store personal belongings. Outreach workers have also been working to connect people to shelter and services. Still, neighbors feel frustrated and like their voices aren’t being heard.
“These organizations and these interest groups have just been really driving it,” says a neighbor.
They say they think the city should just keep cleaning up camps so that they can have their neighborhood back.
“I think we simply just have to enforce that there will be no unsanctioned camping in the district.”
Neighbors say they are willing to work with the city going forward to try to find a solution, but they want to be able to share their opinions and not just rely on neighborhood organizations and interest groups to speak on their behalf.