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Homeless advocacy groups file legal action in Colorado, demand help for homeless individuals

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Posted at 8:06 AM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 10:06:18-04

Multiple homeless advocacy groups in Colorado have come together to file legal action asking the state to provide housing for people who are homeless as part of the state’s emergency response to the novel coronavirus.

The Fort Collins Homeless Coalition joined with Denver Homeless Out Loud, Boulder Rights Watch, Grand Junction Solidarity Not Charity, and others to file an Extraordinary Petition Wednesday morning, according to the Fort Collins Community Action Network (FCCAN).

FCCAN said it’s challenging for homeless individuals to not gather in groups and to stay six feet from another person.

“Every day, thousands of people across Colorado have no choice but to share shelter services — using the same buildings, eating in the same facilities, sharing the same bathrooms, standing in the same lines, touching the same surfaces, sleeping in the same rooms, unable to follow public health guidelines no matter how hard they try,” FCCAN said.

READ MORE: Social distancing isn't possible in homeless shelters as many fend off the cold and the coronavirus

They must decide, each night, if they’re going to sleep in a shelter with other sick people or if they’ll sleep outside in the cold.

As of 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, at least 10 homeless individuals in shelters across the state have tested positive for COVID-19. FCCAN noted that this number is likely higher, but testing is limited.

Those who do catch the virus are more likely to become seriously ill than not, FCCAN said, noting that homeless individuals are often elderly, disabled or have underlying medical conditions, and lack access to healthcare.

“It should not take a dangerous pandemic to teach us this fact, but if it does, may we all learn this now: Every human being deserves a home, and we are collectively healthier and better off when all of us are housed,” FCCAN said. “Together, we must build a healthier community with more justice, more safety, and more care.”

As of 8 a.m., Denver7 had not heard a response from the city.