10 arrested after building 'tiny homes' for the homeless in Denver park

DENVER - The Denver Police Department arrested 10 people and destroyed "tiny homes" activists set up for the homeless at Sustainability Park Saturday.

Activists with "Denver Homeless Out Loud" were in the process of setting up a tiny home village to be occupied and managed by homeless people, organizers said.

The group posted photos of activists constructing the homes Saturday.

"Today hundreds of people came out to Sustainability Park in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Denver to build a tiny home village where three urban farms are being displaced to build an apartment development," activists said.

"...due to zoning and code constraints they have not been able to find a legal place to put the houses," organizers stated in a release issued Sunday.

The statement read, in part:

"In explaining why they had chosen this site on which to establish the village, the group recounted how the Denver Housing Authority, which owns the property, has torn down hundreds of low-income housing units, and after allowing the Urban Farming Cooperative to use the land for a few years, has agreed this year to sell the land to a private developer, who will build multifamily housing that will support gentrification in Curtis Park but be far beyond the reach of those for whom the Denver Housing Authority is supposed to exist."

Denver Housing Authority filed a complaint with police, saying people would not leave their property.

Police spokesman Tyrone Campbell says police gave the group several orders to disperse before making the arrests.

"Denver Public Works destroyed, threw into dump trucks, and carted away the homes that had been so badly needed by houseless people and so lovingly constructed by those who would have lived there and their supporters," activists said.

However, Denver Public Works said the activist was misinformed and the tiny homes were actually removed by a contractor hired by Denver Police. 

Organizers said police arrested Terese Howard, Benjamin Donlon, Karen Caspary, Audrey Haynes, Andrew Tate Viviano, Raymond Lyall,  Coby Wikselaar, Scott Hauck, Stephanie Marraro, and DJ Razee.

Police told 7NEWS they were arrested for trespassing.

"We will not give up! We will keep fighting to defend people’s right to housing," organizers wrote.

Denver police say they have returned some of the temporary homes that were confiscated.


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