Mayor Mike Coffman releases Aurora camping ban proposal

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Lucio Lopez, left, talks with friends as he stands in a tent that is part of a homeless encampment in the Queens borough of New York, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Unemployment among Hispanic immigrants has doubled in the U.S., going from 4.8% in January 2020 to 8.8% in February 2021, according to the Migration Policy Institute. These numbers don’t take into consideration immigration status but activists and social workers in states like New York or California say more vulnerable immigrants, whom often don’t qualify for aid, are finding themselves without a home. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Aurora’s mayor has released the text of a camping ban proposal that would criminalize transient camping in the city.

The proposal, which Mayor Mike Coffman released Thursday, must first pass a council committee before going to the full council for consideration. A spokesperson said the mayor may formally introduce the bill to committee within two weeks.

The bill declares that “the act of unauthorized camping on public or private property tends to endanger the health and safety of those engaged in such camping as well as the public at large.”

According to the proposal, unless given explicit permission otherwise, camping in an area that is not designated for camping would result in a citation or arrest following a refusal to relocate after receiving a verbal warning.

An offer for shelter placement from the city representative present must also be given at the same time as the warning.

The bill also details what actions fall under the definition of camping, what is classified as public and private property, and what items are deemed “immediate threats to the health or safety of the public” consistently found at homeless camps.

Coffman went undercover into homeless camps in late December, an action that received some backlash from activist groups who felt the action was a stunt rather than an actual attempt to aid those living on the streets.

Since then, on a freezing night in February, an example of how dangerous things could become came to fruition when a Denver homeless camp went up in flames when the residents within lost control of a propane torch.  

In early April, another Denver homeless encampment on York Street caught fire after an improperly stored propane tank ignited and scorched the surrounding area.

If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, the nearest one can be located by visiting the Denver Rescue Mission homepage.

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