Denver Homeless Out Loud – On Tuesday, November 10th, Denver was expecting the first snow of this Winter Season. In response, dozens of people came out to support the homeless organizers of Resurrection Village who had asked for a show of solidarity at 2500 Lawrence Street, the site where on October 24th they had built 5 tiny homes in aspirations to build a self-governing tiny home community. That evening the Denver Housing Authority, who claimed ownership of the land, called the police who then came in, arrested 10 people, and destroyed three of the homes, hauling the other two away intact on trailers.
Since October 24th, despite incorrect reports, Resurrection Villagers have not had any of their homes, materials or possessions returned to them by the Denver Police Department or the Denver Housing Authority. And without being given any other housing option, these brave villagers have maintained a presence at 2500 Lawrence Street since the date of their wrongful eviction, posting signs saying “Move along to where?”.
On Tuesday night, dozens came out and helped the villagers erect 12 tents and one Tiny Home was parked along the street, amounting to a mini community of otherwise unsheltered people taking care of themselves.
Denver Police have been under a great amount of scrutiny since the October eviction for their excessive use of force in evicting and arresting homebuilders of Resurrection Village, and on Tuesday night they did not arrest anyone or destroy anyone’s home at 2500 Lawrence Street.
However, while the villagers were settling into their tents at about 10:30, just before the snow came, police were rousing about 10 people who were sleeping with sleeping bags, tarps and ‘tents’ built out of tarp material, 2 blocks away at a piece of public property at Broadway and 24th Street. The police told the individuals they could not cover themselves and that they ‘had to be seen’ due to the City’s Unauthorized Camping Ordinance, which forbids covering oneself from the elements with “anything other than one’s clothing”. Denver Homeless Out Loud invited those folks to come join the community at 2500 Lawrence and some accepting the invitation. Among those folks was an elderly man who could not travel more than a few feet without having to rest, and expressed that he had otherwise not known where he would have been able to sleep that evening.
“I heard there were tents and other people, and I knew it would be frickin’ cold on the 16th Street Mall, where I usually sleep, so my buddy and I joined them and it was awesome! The tent kept us warm, and the food was great!” said Scott. His sentiments were echoed by Cisco, who usually sleeps by the river, which “is pretty cold in the morning, and it’s not a good spot in the snow….This (village) is a place to stay warm…it restores your faith in humanity…Everybody should have a place to go, homeless or not…without having to worry if we’re gonna go to jail in the morning, or get a ticket for doin’ it.”
Resurrection Villagers will continue their presence at 2500 Lawrence (along the perimeter of the locked fence) indefinitely. While public entities such as the City and County of Denver and the Denver Housing Authority own many parcels of underutilized land, homeless people have no legal and safe place to sleep and stay warm this winter season. In direct opposition to the Urban Camping Ban and other mean-spirited laws which criminalize homelessness, Denver Homeless Out Loud and Resurrection Village both encourage the public to come join us with tents outside the locked fence until we have a legal Tiny Home community in Denver.
-Legalize Tiny Homes in Denver
-Set aside a piece of publicly owned land for a Self Governed Tiny Home Village to be established
-End the criminalization of homelessness
-Adequately refund affordable housing
-Stop Displacing Urban Farmers by selling off publicly owned land to private developers.
For more information about Denver Homeless Out Loud, Resurrection Village, the events of October 24th, Tiny Homes or Homelessness, please go to denverhomelessoutloud.org.