Free Movie Tickets A Plan To Hide Homeless During DNC?

Organizers Deny They're Trying To Sweep Away Homeless Population

When thousands of delegates converge in the Mile City in August, downtown Denver won't look exactly like it does now.

Free movie tickets and passes to Denver's cultural attractions will be given out to homeless people just in time for the Democratic National Convention.

Several groups that help the homeless announced Wednesday that they are making changes during the DNC. But the plan is seen, by some, as a plan to hide the city's homeless, estimated to be roughly 3,800 the summertime.

A DNC advisory committee devoted just to handling the homeless issue has been working on a plan for the past four months with the help of Denver police, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the Denver Rescue Mission and other shelters.

The homeless will be offered free movie passes, tickets to the Denver Zoo, museums, and other cultural facilities. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will also hand out free bus tickets so the homeless can attend events that aren't nearby.

Some shelters will open their doors during the daytime and have more cots available at night. A spokeswoman for the Denver Rescue Mission said the shelter will almost double its overnight capacity. Some shelters will also have big-screen TVs so the homeless can watch convention activities without being out on the busy streets, caught up in the chaos.

Organizers say it's not an attempt to sweep away the homeless but it's more of an effort to educate them.

"There are no plans to relocate the homeless, to keep them out of the downtown area. If anything, we're trying to educate the homeless population on what is available, what entertainment they can go to, you know, how they can be involved as well," said Denver Rescue Mission's Greta Walker.

The committee thinks this is a way to make sure the homeless aren't harassed by police or Secret Service and aren't unknowingly caught up in the activities and protests in the area. Extremely tight security is expected around the Pepsi Center, Invesco Field at Mile High and Civic Center Park, where thousands of protesters are expected.

"It's better than them doing a police sweep. What good is that going to do? It's going to clog the jails that are already clogged," said Cecil Miller, a homeless man. "I'd love to go to a movie. I'd take my wife if we could get somebody to watch our stuff."

The homeless have already been told that aggressive panhandling and asking for money near an ATM are illegal. During the week, a voter registration drive will target homeless shelters and low-cost or free health clinics.

The Democratic National Convention will be held in downtown Denver from Aug. 25 to Aug. 28.

Print this article Back to Top