Denver “sweeps” homeless camps again

The sweeps were more of the same clearing out of property and garbage as has happened in a number of high-profile instances since this time last year.
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“Sweeps” of homeless encampments at Denargo and Delgany Streets, Jan. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

"Sweeps" of homeless encampments at Denargo and Delgany streets, Jan. 26, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver city officials "swept" another encampment of homeless people near the Salvation Army Resource Center, known as the Crossroads Shelter, around 9 a.m. this morning.

The sweeps were more of the same clearing out of property and garbage as has happened in a number of high-profile instances since this time last year.

A police officer asks Amanda Berry which of the items in the lot are to be stored and which will be disposed of. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The move happens as three people are challenging the city's urban camping ban tickets under the legal advisement of Jason Flores-Williams, who has also assembled a class-action lawsuit against the city over how the city handles belongings during the enforcement actions. The sweep also comes a day before Denver Homeless Out Loud holds Right to Rest Fest 2017, a celebratory protest on the State Capitol steps.

Items to be stored by the city are loaded into green trash bins. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Ray Lyall of Denver Homeless Out Loud said that officers struck a softer tone than in previous sweeps.

"They're being a little less violent, I guess, a little more hands off," he said. "It doesn't matter whether they're harassing people or not, it's still our tax dollars hard at work."

City officials said the enforcement action is about safety and services.

"This is trespassing, but this is not about issuing violations. This is about connecting people to services," said Amber Miller, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office. "We have had outreach workers and behavioral health specialists and public works crews and public health crews out here working with the individuals who are living out here for nearly two months now."

Miller said there were three pregnant women living in the camp and that workers had to clean up hundreds of needles.

Correction: This article initally stated that the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado co-organized Right to Rest Fest 2017. They did not.

Amanda Berry (left) speaks to Denver Animal Protection Sergeant Stephen Romero. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Denver Animal Protection sergeant Stephen Romero checks on Amanda Berry's cat, O'Malley. The cat will stay with Berry. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
"Sweeps" of homeless encampments at Denargo and Delgany Streets. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Amanda Berry (left) watches as city workers "sweep" the encampment where she's lived for two months. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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