As housing becomes more unattainable, we must be better neighbors to all. People are being pushed out of their homes, neighborhoods, communities, and even public spaces.
Cities have responded to mass homelessness by passing laws that remove homeless folks from sight and mind, making it a crime for anyone to sit, sleep, or cover themselves in public spaces. These laws put homeless people’s lives at risk. Denver law, under the Unauthorized Camping Ban, makes it illegal to “use any form of protection from the elements other than your clothing.”
1. The right to rest in a non-obstructive manner in public spaces.
2. The right to shelter oneself from the elements in a non-obstructive manner in outdoor public spaces.
3. The right to eat, share, accept, or give free food in any public space where food is not prohibited.
4. The right to occupy one’s own legally parked motor vehicle or occupy a legally parked motor vehicle belonging to another, with the owner’s permission.
5. The right and expectation of safety and privacy of or in one’s person and belongings while occupying public spaces.
Homeless people did not cause mass homelessness. Homelessness is the result of a lack of accessible housing. Mass homelessness has emerged as a result of federal policies and market reactions.
Every homeless person’s story is unique. Stereotypes of all homeless people as mentally ill, lazy, or drug addicted are just that: stereotypes. Did you know… Nearly three out of four homeless individuals are working. The majority of people who are homeless in Denver are from here. The largest growing homeless population is families with kids. There are as many reasons for being homeless as there are homeless people. Every person deserves basic rights no matter who they are.
While there are many factors that may trigger homelessness, ultimately a lack of accessible low-income housing and a broken economy are the root of mass homelessness.