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Homeless camps being pushed to Denver's outskirts and suburbs

Experts believe sweeps are driving people out
Posted at 8:30 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 00:19:21-05

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DENVER -- A string of tents sits in between Pena Boulevard and the RTD A Line tracks where a group of people are living far from downtown Denver's shelters. 

"We're hearing that people are going maybe a little bit further from downtown than they have before," said Cathy Alderman, with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

Alderman says they've noticed it more since Denver began clearing the sidewalks around downtown homeless shelters. A large homeless camp was dismantled at the end of October near the Denver Rescue Mission. Experts say the homeless sweeps are pushing people well beyond the downtown core and into the suburbs.

"And the difficulty with encampments in those areas is they are so much further and they're so much more dispersed," said Alderman.

Camps like the one by the airport are making is more difficult for outreach workers to find people and ultimately connect them with services.

"We didn't see that. Even five years ago we didn't see that, but we're seeing it now," said Lynn Ann Huizingh, Executive Director for the Severe Weather Shelter Network.

Huizingh is seeing it in Jefferson County too. She works with local churches to provide emergency shelter on cold nights and says there isn't enough space to house the growing number of people that she knows are being pushed out.