DENVER (KDVR) — As the Johnston administration continues to work on the goal of housing 1,000 people by the end of the year, neighbors living in communities where the unhoused have set up shop are seemingly running out of patience.
A well-known think tank leader in Denver said he is tired of inaction and made a big statement outside of the Denver City and County Building Monday.
Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, said he is fed up with people leaving human waste outside of his office.
So, he picked up what he said was human waste and placed it outside the building, which houses the offices of city council members as well as Mayor Mike Johnston.
“I’m leaving this little package of human waste that I have to clean up at my property here for these people to clean up,” Caldara announced as he stood on the building’s steps. “And I challenge city council and Mayor Michael Johnston to be the ones to clean this up personally, not the good people who work for the city.”
Caldara said he goes outside his office at least a few times a week to collect waste and trash like needles and vomit.
He knows about the mayor’s plan to house 1,000 people by the end of 2023 but said businesses should not be stuck without solutions in the meantime.
“Yes, I’ve talked to the mayor. He’s a great guy, I wish him all the best. And I understand that he is trying a new technique of housing first, but I also want him to enforce the laws,” Caldara said.
He said he specifically wants to see the camping ban upheld and enforced so people will not get too comfortable setting up camps outside of businesses.
“Let’s look at the numbers. If there are 5,000 homeless people here — and close to a million people who live and work in the Denver area — those million people also deserve to work in a clean, safe place,” Caldara said.
FOX31 spoke to a neighbor walking their dog who said they understood why Caldera made the move.
“I think that’s great because I think it does need to be cleaned up,” they said. “I’ve lived here a year now and I think that even over the last year, the encampments around even this area have gotten way worse and like a lot bigger.”
In reaction to Caldara’s action, the mayor’s office told FOX31 they are providing trash pick up and restrooms at some of the major camping sites.
So far, at least 105 people have been housed since the mayor’s emergency declaration and announcement of his plan. You can keep up with how many people have been housed since the plan went into effect here.