Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 15, 20185min159

A Colorado House committee, once again, killed legislation that would allow homeless people to linger where they want, which would have undermined or outlawed urban camping bans imposed by cities across the state. Police and municipal government officials again testified that allowing people to camp wherever they want doesn't connect them to shelter or mental health services or other help. Businesses and others alleged that loitering hurts trade and helps crime. And scores of homeless people and their advocates spoke of the indignities and choices they face trying to survive on the street. A place to sleep isn't too much to ask, they argued.


Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 5, 20184min499
State Rep. Joe Salazar  has a public beef with a Colorado Springs Gazette op-ed contributor over whether his legislation helps the homeless. In the back-and-forth community activist Rachel Stoval alleged his bill was a ploy to secure Democratic votes in El Paso County. “Right to Rest does not offer a single solution to homelessness. Shame […]

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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyJanuary 9, 20182min447

Denver has drawn fire for its ban on homeless camping, or urban camping, since the policy first went on the city books. The city’s policy includes law enforcement sweeps that force the homeless to pack up and move elsewhere.

However, those sweeps or police contacts waned slightly in 2017, Westword found.

As Westword’s Chris Walker notes:

There were 4,647 individual “contacts” in 2017 — interactions that include, at a minimum, law enforcement telling someone violating the ban to pack their belongings and move to another location. That’s down slightly from the 5,055 contacts in 2016, though still significantly higher than the 972 made in 2013, the first full year the ban was enforced.

There were also fewer written warnings issued in 2017: 46 versus 154 in 2016. Only one written warning was issued in both 2013 and 2014.

Denver officials argue the homeless are safer off the streets and in a city shelter while opponents like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say the ban criminalizes homelessness. Colorado Springs, Boulder, Fort Collins and other larger cities also ban urban camping and/or panhandling.

Over the spring, the latest stab at a Colorado “Right to Rest” bill, to outlaw urban camping bans, died in a legislative committee. State lawmakers argued if the bill became law, it would open cities up to mass litigation and drain money that could be used for parks, schools and other public needs.

Joey BunchJoey BunchApril 21, 20174min189
A Colorado lawmaker said he meant well, but to the sometimes homeless teenager who testified on a bill in his JROTC uniform, it felt like retribution. Wednesday Auontai “Tay” Anderson, an 18-year-old student from Denver’s Manual High School, testified in favor of House Bill 1314, the failed “right to rest” legislation to ban urban camping and […]

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John TomasicJohn TomasicApril 20, 20177min574

State House Democrats joined Republicans late Wednesday night to vote down a bill that has made waves in various versions the last three years for championing the civil rights of the state’s homeless population. After nearly six hours of emotional testimony, the “Right to Rest Act,” <a href="http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/HB17-1314">House Bill 1314</a>, sponsored by state Democratic Reps. Joe Salazar from Thornton and Jovan Melton from Aurora, fell short in the House Local Government committee. The 8-5 vote came around midnight, Democrats Paul Rosenthal from Denver and Matt Gray from Broomfield joining Republicans in opposition.

Joey BunchJoey BunchApril 20, 20179min534
A Democratic-led House committee killed the latest version of Colorado’s “Right to Rest” bill to outlaw urban camping bans that keep homeless people from sleeping in parks and other public spaces. House Bill 1314 died on a 8-5 vote in the House Local Government Committee, marking the third year in a row the effort by Democratic […]

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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinFebruary 12, 20177min242

Colorado lawmakers hope they can finally make some headway over the construction defects issue and help spur more condominium growth. But another bill is attempting to address the affordable housing issue from a different angle: mobile home parks and how their residents might be able to stay in them when an owner wants to sell the land they sit on. And two Colorado Democratic lawmakers who hoped they wouldn't have to open their state Capitol offices to the homeless to make a point about their bill, dubbed the Right to Rest bill, was to be considered for the third year in a row.