Homeless Numbers Rising in Denver

Denver's federal money for the homeless has dried up, as has grant money. In 2005, then Mayor John Hickenlooper introduced Denver's Road Home project, to help the homeless find shelter and programs addressing drug addiction, alcoholism and mental illness, believed to contribute to homelessness.

But we have more homeless than ever -- more than 11,000 in downtown Denver. Many like to sleep on the 16th st Mall where it's well-lit and police are usually nearby. There's no law preventing sleeping on the street.

Now, with the increased numbers of homeless persons. the shelters are full, the temporary house is full, and the social programs have waiting lists.

Enacting laws preventing people from sleeping in the street just criminalizes homelessness. A much better approach is one suggested in the article;

The solution...is to get people into housing, help them find jobs and get them assistance with their underlying health issues.

Sure, there's a shortage of money for federal grants, but when I see what the Feds choose to spend it on, I'm appalled that they leave these vulnerable victims out in the cold (pun intended.)

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    Maybe Hickenlooper is right (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 06:06:40 AM EST
    Maybe it's drug (or money) addiction, alcoholism and mental illness among politicians and wall street types that is contributing to homelessness.

    Since his "Road Home" project began, Denver now has more homeless than ever living on the road?

    Something's workin'....

    Hickenlooper is a tool (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by kdm251 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:34:16 AM EST
    I live near an eleven million dollar dog park, while I like having a dog park, I am pretty sure it should not have cost anywhere near that.  It seems like everything Hickenlooper does works out like the dog park, most the money goes to his wealthy contributors and if anything is left over the people get it.  I am sure someone did well with his road home project it just wasn't the homeless people it was meant to help.

    1st law of politics: (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:53:43 AM EST
    Until they figure out how to profit from it, nobody's gonna push it.

    And I adore dogs (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 01:48:57 PM EST
    Don't have a dog park, would love to have a dog park, but not before the homeless have shelter and food and healthcare.

    How about they (none / 0) (#12)
    by Amiss on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:12:31 PM EST
    allocate some of that to the 1/3 of the Homeless in the US, Florida.. it was just a show again on 60 minutes about it. Yes one third of the homeless in the United States live in Florida. The Homeless in Florida alone could teach them the survival skills needed to avoid "the man" in cities at nite.

    Is it right for one state to be trying to care for 1/3 of the homeless?


    $11 million is petty cash (none / 0) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 09:37:34 AM EST
    in comparison to the Bank Welfare Program.

    Explosive Bloomberg Report Details Fed's Monster Bank Bailouts: $7.77 Trillion

    Abandon the helpless, push more and more people into poverty, take formula away from babies (WIC),  and steal the retirement and health care benefits from the old and the disabled to fund multi-million dollar bonuses for the government's savvy business friends.    


    11,000 in downtown Denver (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by sj on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 05:58:38 PM EST
    That's staggering.  How many are homeless teens, I wonder?  Several years ago I took in a young girl who was living on the street.  She was a whole lot of trouble, but a good kid for all that.  Anyway, I found out then that there was a whole sub-culture of homeless teens, mostly in downtown Denver.  So, so many kids just thrown away.

    If I had stayed in Denver I would have volunteered for Urban Peak.

    Here in Portland the Occupy camp (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by caseyOR on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:20:35 PM EST
    cast a very bright light on the homeless. A major criticism of the Occupy camp, leveled by police and politicians and the "business community", was that the camp filled up with homeless people, not political protesters and that made the camp a blight.

    The Occupiers consistently made the point that the homeless were most certainly part of the 99%, that the Occupy camp was a haven for them because it was a safe place to sleep and eat, something that is in very short supply.

    When the city decided to evict the Occupiers, the mayor and city commissioners made a big fuss about how they were bringing social workers and homeless advocates and housing workers down to the camp to make sure those in need got a place to sleep and a referral to the appropriate social service agency.

    And those people did come down to the Occupy camp. And they did help some homeless people get shelter beds and referrals to agencies. They did not solve the problems of the homeless. They did not reverse the alarming and sad trend of families living in their cars and on the streets. They did not provide a safe space for the many people for whom there simply was no shelter bed. Lots of the homeless had no choice but to return to sleeping under bridges, always airing for the police to do a sweep and throw their stuff away and move them along.

    I find it interesting that a major criticism of the Occupy camps in many cities is that they attract the homeless. Of course they do. As many homeless people here told the press time and time again, the Occupy camp was safe. Unlike everywhere else they might find in the city to sleep, they were not afraid of being assaulted or robbed or any of a number of crimes and indignities that are visited upon the homeless.

    I suspect that this shining a bright light on the homeless was a major factor in the nationwide decision by mayors to destroy the Occupy camps.

    That, as a nation, we are not collectively filled with shame that in the richest country in the world some many are literally out in the cold, and that in response to that collective shame we have not moved to help our fellow citizens and to end this travesty, is to our eternal disgrace.

    Yes. Rebecca Solnit also (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 07:45:46 PM EST
    wrote about that very hypocrisy the other day...

    One of the complicating factors in the Occupy movement is that so many of the thrown-away people of our society -- the homeless, the marginal, the mentally ill, the addicted -- have come to Occupy encampments for safe sleeping space, food, and medical care.  And these economic refugees were generously taken in by the new civil society, having been thrown out by the old uncivil one.

    Complicating everything further was the fact that the politicians and the mainstream media were more than happy to blame the occupiers for taking in what society as a whole created, and for the complications that then ensued. (No mayor, no paper now complains about the unsanitariness of throwing the homeless and others back onto the streets of our cities as winter approaches.)

    -- Ms. Civil Society v. Mr. Unaccountable

    As far as I can tell (none / 0) (#6)
    by Amiss on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 02:43:53 PM EST
    as a resident of Fla. We have migratory homeless. In the winter, we have many more homeless than in the summertime.

    Just don't send them to Florida (none / 0) (#13)
    by Amiss on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:20:07 PM EST
    Please, please, please.