In my first 100 days in office, I will prioritize tackling our homeless problem in Denver.
Homeless sweeps and camping bans are not the answer. They only got the City sued by the homeless. Similarly, Initiative 300 is not a solution. Both continue a debate that does not solve anything. And homelessness is no longer just a downtown issue. It’s become a city-wide problem, manifested in all of our neighborhoods and it’s an issue that we must address. Homelessness is one of the moral issues of our time and it’s time we take bold action. The sweeps of the homeless will end immediately.
- Treating this problem with humanity and compassion
- Assuring that all of Denver can use and enjoy their parks and places of recreation
Within 100 days, working with non-profit and private providers and services in the city, we will have facilities that are safe, warm and secure that offer an option for every person living on the streets. They will have access to showers, other services, a place to store valuables and a place to sleep in peace. My administration will:
- Accelerate the permitting of temporary and permanent shelter space.
- Work with existing providers to identify new shelter space.
- Work with Denver Public Schools to consider using closed school buildings as temporary shelter space.
- Evaluate using public spaces, with neighborhood input, for outdoor encampments with restroom, shower and laundry facilities, security and other wrap around services.
However, that is just step one – at these facilities there will be evaluation in conjunction with Denver Health, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and other organizations. We will ensure:
- They will have access to health care
- There will be mental health counseling and access to programs that work
- We have drug and alcohol counseling. When needed there will be safe detox facilities.
I will also direct a study of those who are now under contract to provide these services – I will make damned sure that the City and County of Denver is getting full value for the massive expenditures now being made – and if we are not there will be changes.