Shelter use up after homeless sweep, but cold temperatures are likely the reason

DENVER -- The Direct of Denver's Road Home said shelter use is up since the end of October, but said it's likely because of the cold temperature instead of the homeless sweep.

In October, The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment requested law enforcement remove encampments from an area surrounding the Samaritan House shelter in the area from 21st to 24th streets and Arapahoe and Lawrence streets.

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

A month and a half after the sweep, the sidewalks remain clear of tents, though people sleep in sleeping bags in the area. The Director of Denver's Road Home Chris Conner said more people are utilizing shelters. He said it's cold temperatures that have encouraged people to go inside, instead of the homeless sweep.

The most recent Point-In-Time survey released said of the homeless population in the city and county of Denver, 17 percent are sleeping outside.

"Compared nationally, the number is 35 percent of homelessness in the nation report sleeping outside. For Denver’s sake, we do invest heavily in services to provide people a place to come in to and that does reflect in our Point In Time numbers," said Conner.

The 2018 Point In Time Survey estimated the city and county of Denver's homeless population is 3,445 people.

The Department of Human Services is looking for volunteers for its upcoming Point In Time survey on January 28. If you're interested, more information can be found here.

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