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Ballot initiative could rollback laws designed to restrict Denver's homeless population

Posted: 3:45 PM, Aug 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-19 19:15:41-04

DENVER – The Right to Survive initiative Denver voters will likely decide next spring would expel all or parts of the city’s camping ordinance, the park curfew, and the city’s “major encumbrance” ordinance – essentially clearing the way for homeless to camp or lay down in the city’s parks and on sidewalks.

City councilman Albus Brooks, an advocate for getting the homeless off the street, says he can appreciate the compassion behind the law, but doesn’t believe this is the right way to go about helping the city’s less fortunate.

“I think we need to stay focused on delivering affordable housing,” he told Tony Kovaleski on this weekend’s Politics Unplugged . “We need to stay focused on delivering services to homeless individuals and not work on a bill to take away park curfews and saturate our rivers and saturate the public right away. We need to get people into housing.”

Brooks says Denver is just one of many cities in the west that have large homeless populations – pointing to Portland, Seattle and San Francisco as other places dealing with the issues Denver has. However, he says Los Angeles is the worst.

“On skid row, they have essentially passed a similar measure and now their area is ten by five blocks full of 5,000 homeless individuals that they are not getting into housing,” he said.

Brooks says the best decision for Denver is to offer services and housing.

“We are very smart and we want to think about what is the best way to help people experiencing homelessness transition into life and be a part of this incredible economy,” he said.

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7 and noon on K3-KCDO.