AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman says he will introduce on Thursday an ordinance prohibiting camping in the city.
“The proposal is already drafted but I want to work with our city attorney’s office to make sure that the proposed camping ban is compliant with the CDC guidelines that were put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and are still in effect,” Coffman said in a series of tweets.
Coffman says he also wants the proposal to meet the conditions “spelled out in court decisions where camping bans have been challenged and were upheld.”
Earlier this year, Coffman went “undercover” to get an up-close and what he called unfiltered study of people experiencing homelessness in the Denver metro area. CBS4 first reported on his experience as “Homeless Mike,” which led him to the conclusion that neither the economic effects of COVID-19 nor a lack of resources are driving factors in the problem.
Instead, he says the challenge is that some people don’t want to change.
“How do we incentivize people? I mean, are we providing too many resources to those who are not willing to change?” Coffman asked. “We know that if people are unwilling to change, then no amount of resources are going to make a difference in their life.”
Coffman said the people living in encampments don’t want to change. He said they choose to live on the streets because often they’re addicted to drugs. He says the only way to address encampments is to shut them down. Public assistance, he says, should be contingent on drug treatment through programs with a proven track record.
His critics said he has no compassion, doesn’t understand the trauma that drives someone to live on the street, and ignores the fact that many of those who are homeless suffer from mental illness.