AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Mayor Mike Coffman is proposing a camping ordinance for Denver’s largest suburb. Denver’s ban has navigated court challenges and faced growing criticism. The newly proposed Aurora ban is already becoming a hot topic among residents and politicians.
Coffman announced his proposal Monday. There is not a current plan in place for relocating people suffering from homelessness if the mayor’s desired ban turns into a reality.
“I like having my own area— my own things— my own space,” an Aurora urban camper, named Trenton, told FOX31.
Coffman said public health concerns are top of mind, among other issues.
“I think our residents are upset when they see … the trash,” Coffman said.
But where will the vulnerable population go?
“They want us to disappear … most of us don’t want to go to shelters,” Trenton said.
Coffman said he prefers one location as an alternative. “Not spread out through the city,” Coffman said.
Members of the Aurora City Council would need to debate alternatives such as safe designated outdoor camps or permanent shelter structures.
“It is lazy politicians unwilling to address the needs of our most vulnerable and just looking to police them out of sight,” said Denver Homeless Out Loud organizer Benjamin Dunning.
Coffman stressed housing alternatives are a must for Aurora to survive court battles. There’s already opposition on city council to the mayor’s camping ban proposal.
“Rather than following the recommendations of professionals with decades of experience, the mayor is once again promoting inhumane and ineffective approaches to addressing homelessness,” tweeted Alison Coombs, member of Aurora City Council. “I, for one, will be working with staff to support data-driven solutions.”
In the end, though, Coffman said his feel for public opinion leads him to believe a ban will become reality.
“I believe the people of Aurora will get it done,” he said.
Those suffering from homelessness told FOX31 there are many reasons why they don’t want to go to shelters. Those reasons typically surround health and safety concerns.
The mayor plans to introduce his camping ban proposal to city council on Thursday.