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Mayor Hancock Statement Regarding Unauthorized Camping Ordinance

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today announced a cold-weather adjustment to enforcement of the city’s unauthorized camping ordinance.

“As a city, we have a responsibility and moral obligation to protect the lives of our residents. Urban camping-- especially during cold, wet weather -- is dangerous and we don’t want to see any lives lost on the streets when there are safe, warm places available for people to sleep at night. Every night, we have beds open for people to sleep and every day we have safe places and resources to help people experiencing homelessness,” Mayor Hancock said.

“Every step we take is intended to connect people with safe and warm places and critical supportive services. We never intended to take the belongings that people need to keep warm. Therefore, I have directed Denver police to cease taking camping equipment, like tents and blankets, when enforcing the unauthorized camping ordinance through the end of April.”

Background information:
The city and its homeless shelter partners are continuously tracking shelter availability and adding space whenever needed to ensure we have warm, safe places for people to sleep at night. We absolutely have space open. 

Denver will cease taking camping equipment, like tents and blankets, when enforcing the unauthorized camping ordinance through the end of April.

To date, the city has taken camping equipment as evidence from three individuals who were camping outside the City and County Building during a protest demonstration on Nov. 28. On that day, the city began notification of our camping ordinance at about 9:40 p.m. and worked to gain voluntary compliance over the following six hours with the demonstrators. These are the only individuals who have had blankets or tents taken.

When enforcing the unauthorized camping ordinance, Denver police provide several verbal and written warnings before they issue a citation. Per the ordinance, officers request wellness checks by human services professionals for individuals found camping outdoors in the city.

Over the past two weeks, after multiple notifications, police issued nine citations to seven individuals.

Over the last 24 months, the city and our metro partners have placed 995 homeless people into housing.