DENVER (KDVR) — FOX31 continues asking tough questions about Denver’s policies on clearing homeless encampments.
As FOX31 first reported Wednesday night, the city of Denver does not treat all these encampments the same. Some of them do not get offered the same relocation services as others.
The Problem Solvers pressed the mayor’s office to explain why.
FOX31 compared services offered at two different cleanups. There were very few tents and unhoused people in the area Thursday near East 16th Avenue and Sherman Street, where a sweep took place Wednesday.
The removal was carried out by Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, not through Mayor Mike Johnston’s housing initiative.
In the 16th and Sherman case, the Problem Solvers were told unhoused people were given a seven-day notice. But when the cleanup started Wednesday, they did not have the same support given to people during a recent cleanup outside the governor’s mansion at Eighth Avenue and Logan Street.
Thursday, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said some encampment cleanups are carried out by DOTI when problems at an encampment get so bad that they are declared a type of emergency for public health.
That includes when sidewalks and other health hazards like syringes are discovered.
The mayor’s office said House 1000 wraparound services are offered only to encampments that have been pre-selected and when there are enough services for people being removed from the sites.
“So, one of the key criteria is for us to continue doing that. What we are doing right now is identifying those resources so that we have that shelter available, whether it’s a hotel or a micro-community, and providing wraparound services. So that is the number one (thing), identifying that we have those resources and then identifying an encampment that can fit those resources,” said Jose Salas, deputy director of communications for Johnston.
The encampment at 16th and Sherman was not one of those places that fit into the House 1000 plan. But Salas said people there were offered shelter options.
Another DOTI cleanup is scheduled to take place at East 50th Avenue and Dahlia Street next week. They were given seven days’ notice on Tuesday, but they will not get the Housing 1000 services that have been spoken about so much recently.