Mayor Michael Hancock promised “development without displacement” in his State of the City address Monday, but activists say they don’t see enough action to back up the talk.
In a “People’s State of the City” on the steps of the City and County Building this afternoon, Luke Leavitt of Denver Homeless Out Loud delivered a mock address in which he offered an alternative to Denver’s Road Home.
“Denver’s Road to Nowhere makes the A Line free for anyone below a certain income on one condition,” he said. “When you get to the airport, you have to board a plane to somewhere else.”
In response to complaints about RTD fare increases, Leavitt proposed just getting rid of buses.
“We’re going to make every bus one of those bike bars,” he said. “Tourists love that. It’s sustainable. There is craft beer.”
This the new Denver, one that is open and accessible to everyone.
“Whether you make $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, we’re going to make sure there is a place for you,” Leavitt said.
Andrea Chiriboga-Flor of 9to5 Colorado described the displacement happening in Denver and around the region as a form of violence.
“Sweeping homeless people off the streets is not a solution. Police brutality is not a solution. Decreasing public housing is not a solutions,” she said. “Taking away the little people have to make way for development is not the answer.”
The answers, she said, lie in community land trusts, renters’ rights and police accountability.
Jerry Burton of Denver Homeless Out Loud said the city is putting money into “affordable” housing, but what the city needs is “low-income” housing. Much of the “affordable” housing is far out of reach of the very poor and those on fixed incomes, those struggling the most to find shelter right now.
Jumoke Emery-Brown from Black Lives Matter 5280 crossed the street from Civic Center Park where he has been spending 135 hours, starting Thursday afternoon, with other activists to mark the 135 black men and women killed by police this year.
He spoke softly, in contrast to several prior speakers.
“I’m feeling tired,” he said. “.And it’s not just because I’ve been sleeping on the street for four days. A lot of you have slept on the street for far longer than that. I’m tired because our community is under attack right here in Denver. … I’m tired because I don’t know another black man — not one — who has not been jailed or harassed by the police. I’m tired. I’m tired.”