Denver officials on Saturday quietly announced a potential location in Five Points to serve as a temporary designated campsite for those experiencing homelessness.
Mayor Michael Hancock, in a Facebook post Saturday afternoon, said a small strip of city-owned property between Sonny Lawson Park and the Blair-Caldwell Library has been identified as a possible place for individuals to set up campsites in a controlled environment.
“No final decisions have been made and would not be without first engaging with the community,” Hancock said. The city did not send out a news release with the information.
In July, the mayor announced that the city would scope out possible locations for three temporary sites, as officials continued to break up unsanctioned camps around Denver. The sweeps would sometimes result in clashes between police and protesters.
City officials are beginning to meet with neighbors and community members about the potential site, Hancock said, with three virtual town halls scheduled for next week.
“We want to emphasize any campsites, wherever they are located, would be temporary, staffed 24 hours a day, and would bring a controlled environment to the uncontrolled encampments in neighborhoods across the city,” the mayor wrote.
Each location would likely hold about 50 people each and be managed by the Colorado Village Collaborative, the city previously announced. And people staying there would have access to bathrooms as well as mental health, addiction and other services.
Denver officials in July cited outbreaks of Hepatitis and Shigella when they initiated homeless sweeps, but a national expert and a local advocate said the numbers of positive tests health officials have disclosed to The Denver Post don’t justify the actions.
The city also pointed to a fatal shooting downtown as a factor in sweeping a camp, even though police couldn’t say whether the shooting was connected to the gathering that was cleared out a week later.
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