Homeless Advocates Get on TV and Lie to Media and the Public

Homeless Advocates Get on TV and Lie to Media and Public

Denver, Colorado Homeless Sweep – Take II

Cristal M Clark

Today marks the second consecutive day in Denver, we fell witness to more homeless camp sweeps and several homeless advocates showing up and protesting the sweeps. Today however, while I was watching the sweeps live I witnessed a homeless advocate blatantly lie to both the media and to the public in an effort to justify his cause, or rather why Denver is seeing so many homeless individuals that should be allowed to camp in every and any public right of way of his or her choosing. 

The man informed the media and the watching public that the reason the numbers of homeless has increased is because of the pandemic. Right now, straight up I will call the guy and anyone else out on utilizing that excuse, it’s a flat out and blatant lie and it is pathetic. 

David Scott loads supplies into his tent home in downtown Denver. “As long as they keep it to where we’re getting cleaned, not swept, it’s all right,” says Scott.

Fact – up until the end of the July everyone on unemployment was getting a free additional $600 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefit. 

Fact – cities and states nationwide we have an eviction moratorium in place, hence people are not being evicted due to non payment of rent because of the pandemic. Which also brings up a really good question however, why were they not paying rent when they had the extra $600 per week? Sure I get that, no one is getting the additional $600 per week on top of the regular unemployment benefit now as it went away at the end of july however, here in Denver they are getting an extra $300 per week on top of the unemployment benefit currently. 

To be brutally honest, if they were not paying rent while they were receiving the extra $600 per week, what were they spending the money on? Paying other bills? Were they living beyond their means prior to the pandemic? I ask because to blame the pandemic for the homeless situation right now as of today does not make much sense, at all, not mathematically or logically. 

At any rate, it is understandable for those who did not start getting benefits for several months however you’d still be pretty hard pressed to believe they were actually evicted with courts and judicial systems shut down from around March until June, some still are not running at 100%, and evictions are not a priority.  

By the time many states refused to allow evictions, not to mention those who serve eviction paperwork such as sheriff deputies nationwide refusing to serve said notices during a pandemic, the moratoriums were already in place. So it still doesn’t make a lot of sense to use the excuse that the homeless situation in Denver or nationwide is due to the pandemic. 

The lies about the homeless in Denver and around the nation being due to the pandemic, need to stop otherwise put your money where your mouth is and prove it, unequivocally. 

For Denver, before anyone uses the pandemic as an excuse, I want to see the eviction notice from the property manager who sought to evict during a pandemic, I want the badge number of the sheriff’s deputy that served said notice, show us the name of the judge that signed off on it, those things would be on the paperwork after all, show us the proof that these individuals are homeless because of the pandemic but, be careful because while they cannot be evicted under the moratorium for non-payment of rent due to a job loss, they can still be evicted for reasons outside of that. 

The number of individuals who are homeless in Denver has been on the increase the past several years-fact we’ve been clearing homeless camps regularly since 2015 and that is primarily because:

People move to Denver because we are a growing and thriving city but fail to do a cost of living check before they move. 

The cost of living in Denver is too far above what the average wages are which is the fault of our city and state leaders who saw dollar signs rather than the inevitable, human strife and suffering because along with all of these super expensive highrise apartments the wages needed to live in them, did not follow. That is all greed plain and simple because to some extent cities and states can control both the cost of living and wages believe it or not. 

What’s more is that I drive right through downtown Denver 5 days a week, I have seen the homeless become agitated, violent and out of control, dangerous if you will. Many of which are either mentally insane or self medicating, some both. That is neither the fault of the out of whack of the cost of living nor is it our leadership’s fault, that is the fault of the advocates who are promoting the idea that being homeless is simply okay and we should simply put up with it rather than addressing the situation honestly with businesses, city leaders and citizens. They prefer to excuse the behaviors rather than go out and fight for the funding needed so as to prevent the homeless situation. 

I am a huge advocate of the homeless, yet I do not feel that we should excuse it, nor do I feel we should offer free housing or assistance to homeless individuals without them meeting us halfway. 

If they want off the streets, free housing and medical care, they too need to step up and follow the rules, take the medication, stay clean, attend therapy and attend work programs, get jobs or risk being put into jail or worse, institutionalized. And all of that is missing funding currently. We need to find a long term place for those who are deemed unable to to live in society due to extreme mental illness/instability, an institution where they are not allowed to leave. 

Seems harsh, but I have watched the homeless in Denver increase for several years. I have had to step over sleeping individuals, walk around them, run the other direction from them, worry while sitting at a traffic light because I’ve seen them hit car windows when drivers ignore them. It is a nuisance and public health issue and at times a dangerous situation. I will not go as far as to say being homeless is a choice but I will say that I am not seeing many of them even try. 

In some cases it is a choice they are making while in other cases, it is simply not a choice, they do not have the mental wellness to make a choice, and in a few cases it is because they feel lost, have no hope and I would imagine sought help but that help failed to meet the needs those individuals have. 

And that, is yet another lie advocates tend to tell, they gloss over the inability of many programs to help meet the needs of the homeless due to lack of funding because they are too lazy to address that with the public. 

Well folks, it’s either pay more in taxes or continue to see this issue in Denver and nationwide. We all need to step up but first advocates need to stop lying about why people are homeless. Period. 

Cristal M Clark

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