DENVER (KDVR) — The city of Denver is giving people who live in a downtown homeless encampment less than a day’s notice to leave. It comes a day after a shooting on the same street sent two people to the hospital.
The encampment is on Logan Street between 17th and 18th avenues.
Mayor Mike Johnston has said his administration would give a seven-day notice before clearing an encampment, but the city said that decision will be circumstantial.
“The city makes decisions about encampments based on specific facts and circumstances,” said Jordan Fuja, a spokesperson for Johnston’s office. “In response to significant public health and safety concerns at 17th and Logan on Monday, Aug. 21, we are proceeding with an emergency closure of this encampment. People were given a day’s notice to vacate the encampment.”
“The city strives to provide seven days’ notice ahead of a cleanup,” Fuja continued. “Due to unsafe conditions associated with the use of firearms in the area, the city made the decision to close the encampment quickly.”
24 hours notice to clear encampment
Tara DeLaFuente runs the organization Cats Not Cops and had just finished another community dinner when FOX31 spoke to her on Tuesday, just a few blocks north at Benedict Fountain Park.
“I think if they think there was a dangerous situation, you would have acted immediately, in one second,” DeLaFuente said. “Getting them 24 hours’ notice, that’s just an excuse. Those people deserve a seven-day notice.”
DeLaFuente said while the mayor’s plan seems haphazard now, she thinks it eventually will find its footing.
“Maybe we want to make a change, but there has to be a realistic plan and timeline to set up that plan,” DeLaFuente said.
FOX31 also heard from the advocacy group Housekeys Action Network Denver.
“He (the mayor) is blaming the sweep on a shooting in the area that took place yesterday,” the group said, in part, in a statement. “But if any apartment complex is shot at, all the residents are not evicted. The same should be true of an encampment.”
In his first major act since taking office, Johnston declared a state of emergency over homelessness in Denver, and it was extended this week. His administration has since cleared out at least one encampment, at 22nd and Stout streets downtown.
Johnston has said addressing homelessness will be a top priority for his administration.