Advocates fight for, against ‘Urban Camping’ ban

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DENVER -- The battle between advocates for the homeless and a group called Together Denver is heating up.

The war of words comes before an upcoming election.

Voters will be asked to vote on repealing the urban camping ban.

At issue is whether people have the right the to rest eat and sleep in public spaces.

Advocates for the homeless say they are being treated unfairly.

A group hoping to keep the ban in place says the so called RIGHT TO SURVIVE initiative undermines public safety.

Homeless groups like Occupy Denver, say the Urban Camping ban is unfair and they want it repealed.

Eric Brandt, a member of Occupy Denver a homeless advocate groups said, "We want the people of Denver to say it’s not a crime to cover your face with a blanket in the snow…it is a crime right now….you face a year in jail and a thousand dollar fine."

Brandt added it’s also unfair to not allow people to sit on the ground or sleep in their car or feed the homeless.

A homeless group gathered signatures needed to get the initiative on the May Ballot.

But now, a group called Together Denver is fighting to keep the ban in place.

Together Denver says people will allowed to sleep in their cars in front of people’s home and the group says there are other risks.

Together Denver’s Policy Director Cody Belzley said the initiative could be detrimental because it is, "enabling people to camp, to sleep to establish structures in our public parks our sidewalks and our alleyways in any public property."

Together Denver says the initiative is too broad and would essentially park curfews and allow unlimited feedings in public spaces.

Belzley added, “It threatens our health and our safety not only for the other members of the community who want to use those parks and sidewalks and alleyways but its not a safe or humane for people experiencing homeless either."

Together Denver says the entire city would be impacted if the Right to Survive Initiative Passes.

Homeless Advocates say it’s fighting for basic human rights in an expensive city that’s left them on the streets.

Both side promise to continue major campaigns to get voters to the polls.

The election takes place in May.

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