Pinpoint Weather Alert Day: Cold temperatures, light snow & slick roads overnight

Denver says feces, urine, litter prompted large homeless sweep around shelter

DENVER -- Denver police are keeping a close eye on a block of downtown Denver following a sweep of homeless camps set up on Lawrence Street on Monday.

The sweep impacted about 100 homeless people and is being called the largest homeless sweep since 2016.

The Denver Department of Public Health says the big push was brought on because of cold weather moving in as well as environmental issues such as feces, urine and litter.

The city began the effort on Monday in an area surrounding the Samaritan House shelter in the area from 21st to 24th streets and Arapahoe and Lawrence streets.

Officials also want to encourage homeless people to use shelters because at least four campers died during a cold stretch we had a few weeks ago, according to a spokesperson.

"There is a number of environmental health hazards including feces, urine, litter, there is certainly a rodent population, biohazards, and we want to encourage people to get into shelters before this cold weather comes up," said Danica Lee, the director of public health inspections for the city.

The sweep involved police, public works and a number of dump trucks.

The homeless sweeps are the center of a class action lawsuit filed in federal court to protect belongings of homeless people taken in such sweeps.

The lawsuit is asking the federal court handling suit to order the city to give 72 hours notice in the future so they would have time to file a temporary restraining order if they chose to.

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