[Hpn] Scores PROTEST Denver police sweeps of homeless people FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 04 May 2000 18:48:00 -0700 (PDT)


http://insidedenver.com/news/0503home5.shtml
FWD  Denver Rocky Mountain News - May 3, 2000

PLAN TO MOVE HOMELESS OFF CITY PROPERTY 'STINKS,' SQUATTER SAYS

By Kevin Vaughan
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

     Denver officials' plans to kick homeless men and women off the grounds
of the City and County Building drew fire Tuesday night from about 45
protesters.

     The demonstrators, who gathered on the south side of the building,
called for steps to make more housing available for low-income residents.

     "They chased them off Cherry Creek," said Mary Cole of the homeless
newspaper, Denver Voice. "They chased them off the Platte River. Pretty
soon they're going to chase them off here; they keep chasing them off with
no place to go."

     The demonstration was sparked by citations given to six people
sleeping outside the building earlier in the day. Each was charged with
violating a city ordinance that makes it illegal to sleep on public
property.

     Andrew Hudson, spokesman for Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, described
the two officers as rookies and said they misinterpreted the city's plan.
That plan calls for the city to provide hotel vouchers, social workers and
other assistance when it decides to enforce the ordinance.

     And that day is coming, he said.

     Health concerns are the driving force, Hudson said.

     City employees who clean up the area often have to dispose of
hypodermic needles and human waste.

     A final date has not been set for enforcement of the ordinance.

     Tuesday night, however, demonstrators gathered, carrying signs that
said, "Where do we go? Jail?" and "Pushin' a broom? Try to rent a room!"

     As the protesters gathered, 55-year-old Darrell Goff took a spot above
a heat grate.

     "It stinks," he said of the city's plan to enforce the ordinance.

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