CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Centennial is the latest community in metro Denver to approve a camping ban. As the region continues to navigate a homelessness crisis, municipalities have considered and enacted urban camping bans.
Council members voted unanimously Monday to approve the ban.
Centennial points to camping bans already in place in the city of Denver, Colorado Springs, Parker and Boulder as justification for its new ordinance.
The new law bans camping along sidewalks and trails as well as in parks and open spaces.
There have been some camps in Centennial, but city staff say there have not been any large-scale encampments.
Critics argue the bans don’t address the heart of the homelessness problem and criminalize people for simply trying to survive.
“It’s going to be people [who] are actually in dire situations,” one critic told council members Monday. “The most vulnerable people of our society are going to be out there protecting themselves.”
Those in favor of the ban said it’s needed for health and safety reasons.
“The camp that is right behind me… is practically on me… is huge,” one resident said. “It has grown.”
Deputies, who are contracted as Centennial’s police force, would initially give a verbal warning for campers to leave city property. Eventually, a summons could be issued and a judge could impose a fine.
There are no city-funded homeless shelters in Centennial.