DENVER Initiative 300
“Right to Survive” Initiative
Source: Denver Homeless Out Loud
“DENVER – With winter weather moving in, the City and County of Denver is actively on the streets taking shelter - such as tarps, tents, sleeping bags - from people experiencing homelessness and moving them to less visible areas. As they do this the city claims to be “encouraging homeless people to seek shelter ahead of the cold front.”
Let’s just start with the math. Denver has at least 3,445 people experiencing homelessness (a known undercount) and not quite 2,000 spaces at shelters. At least 609 of these people are “unsheltered” (meaning staying outside). The city claims there is on average, 100 to 150 shelter spaces that go unused each night. Even given this massive undercount of people experiencing homelessness, and this liberal estimate of open shelters spaces, 609 people do not fit in 150 spaces. The math doesn’t add up.
Now let’s go beyond math to the human elements of this situation. People without housing are not bodies to be put in spaces in a shelter building, but rather human beings who have lives. The reality of life and dynamics in shelters are such that they are not a viable, healthy, safe, or possible options for many people. Accordingly, hundreds of people without housing WILL BE living outside creating their own shelter in Denver this winter.
We simply ask the City of Denver to give back the shelter people create for themselves to survive - both the physical tarps/tents/blankets/ect, and the right to use this shelter to survive.”
Link to full press release from Denver Homeless Out Loud can be found here.
Source: Together Denver
“The most important vote that Denver residents cast this year may (be)…a ballot measure most voters probably haven’t even heard of yet: Initiative 300…” said Denver Post writer Vincent Carroll in his compelling column on the proposed Right to Survive measure.
This citizen-initiated measure, which will appear on Denver’s May ballot is a proposal that: Allows people to occupy all outdoor public places, including parks and sidewalks, indefinitely. Prohibits Denver from enforcing essential laws that protect public health and safety. Fails to provide any services or supports to people experiencing homelessness or address the causes of homelessness. Proponents of Initiative 300 are right to be concerned about Denver’s growing homeless population and the well-being of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Denver’s rising cost of living, particularly in housing, is creating a real crisis. Allowing people to sleep outside in public places is not safe, healthy or helpful for the people experiencing homelessness or our community.
If 300 passes, Denver would be the first city in the country to enact a law that allows people the right to rest and shelter on city sidewalks and public areas. The question you will see on the ballot this spring is deceptively simple. To understand Initiative 300, you really need to review the full language. We have put together an annotated version of the ballot language to help you make sense of this important question.
Click here to check out our “Reading Between the Lines” guide to Initiative 300.