[Hpn] Homeless ARRESTED in Denver street sweeps. Mayor apologizes. FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 04 May 2000 18:48:47 -0700 (PDT)


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FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - May 03, 2000

HOMELESS ARRESTED IN DENVER CRACKDOWN

DENVER (AP) _ The mayor's office apologized after the arrest of
six homeless people in a crackdown to keep people from sleeping
outside city buildings.

Andrew Hudson, Mayor Wellington Webb's spokesman, said the goal
was to relocate the homeless, not arrest them.

He said he called John Parvensky, president of the Colorado
Coalition for the Homeless, to apologize. He said two younger
officers made the arrests, apparently misunderstanding the city's
plan.

The city posted notices weeks ago that it would begin enforcing
ordinances that forbid sleeping outside city-owned buildings. The
notices said those who refused to comply would be charged with
trespassing.

About 16 to 20 people have been camping out at the City and
County Building and sleeping on steam grates. The city had promised
to help the homeless before arresting anyone.

But police arrested six people about 4 a.m. Tuesday, including
two with outstanding warrants.

``I think it's a tragedy that the folks had to go through
this,'' Parvensky said. ``It's very traumatic to be woken up in the
middle of the night and taken off to jail.''

Webb is ``very sensitive and aware of the plight of the
homeless,'' Hudson said. ``But we also realize that a lot of
homeless people have mental illness and addictions, and a certain
level of homeless people want to be out on the street.''

Parvensky said homelessness in Denver is a long-term problem
aggravated by skyrocketing housing costs.

``The problem is the city has closed off the parks, the South
Platte River and Cherry Creek, and, now, public buildings,'' he
said. ``This is so short-sighted. It's going to push them into
other neighborhoods. It's not a long-term solution.''

AP-WS-05-03-00 0516EDT
Received  Id AP10012438244A8F on May 03 2000 04:16

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