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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Denver’s Urban Camping Ban Overturned 

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Denver, Colorado vs. The Eighth Amendment

Cristal M Clark 

Citing the eighth amendment, last Friday a Denver County Court judge ruled that Denver’s urban camping ban is unconstitutional, the ban was put into effect in 2012. Judge Johnny C. Barajas ruled that the ban violated the eighth amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment because it criminalizes homeless individuals for trying to survive on the streets when they have nowhere else to go.

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Which is in fact, true. Because of the ruling the Denver police are now prohibited from arresting or harassing homeless people if they are not doing anything of criminal nature. 

That’s right folks, the Denver Police were allowed to harass homeless people before the ban was overturned. You or I can get arrested for harassing someone, but the police can do it and it’s okay? WTF?

Also it’s important to note that back in May, Denver residents voted to reject Initiative 300, which would have overturned the camping ban because when someone is living in his/her brand new million dollar studio they don’t want to see a homeless encampment outside on the sidewalk and it’s way, way, way to inconvenient to have to walk around or step over the homeless who might be passed out on the sidewalk, not to mention sometimes when the mood strikes the homeless might just hop on the goodfoot right out on a public walkway. 

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“The Eighth Amendment, or Amendment VIII of the United States Constitution is the section of the Bill of Rights that states that that punishments must be fair, cannot be cruel, and that fines that are extraordinarily large cannot be set.”

The ban being overturned has been celebrated by advocates for the homeless and has also left others quite upset and beating down the doors of local media to bitch, whine and complain. Case in point, Bishop Jerry Demmer has been leading Absolute Word Church at the corner of 24th and California for the past six years. He says there have always been homeless campers in the park across the street, but now the entire area has been overrun with homeless campers and he’s concerned that it’s going to chase away potential god fearing parishioners. That is according to what he told the local news outlets a day or so ago. “One of the hardest things in this homeless epidemic is that people decide I can urinate wherever and I can defecate wherever, man on the front of the church just dropped his pants and defecated.”

“When I came up this morning they were all the way down the street and sidewalk was taken over with bikes and everything on it, I could not park here this morning.” He actually had to park down the street and walk into the church rather than park right out front, can you imagine how grueling that must have been? 

“I have a great church. But a lot of people would never come to my church if they rode by and seen the situation on the side and sometimes in the front. They would never come to the church because it’s like, well I can’t even get into your church”

“I’ve been involved with feeding the homeless and clothing the homeless,” that’s been one of our ministries, so I have an appreciation for the homeless.” He was also careful to mention how he fears this attracting more homeless people now that you know the ban has been overturned. How brazenly hypocritical of the Bishop to say, he cares so long as he doesn’t have to fucking look at it, step over it or go around it. 

Let’s not leave out the Denver Rescue mission here, according to President and CEO of the Denver Rescue Mission Brad Meuli according to him this could make it more difficult for them to serve individuals experiencing homelessness.

“This ruling is a great concern to us, we don’t think people should stay on the streets. We think they should come into facilities like Denver Rescue Mission, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Volunteers of America where they can get the help that they need. I don’t think anyone should stay outside, I wouldn’t want to stay outside. I think folks should come in where it’s warm, where it’s safe, where you can go to the bathroom or you can take a shower.”

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Welp Brad, looks like you’re going to have to climb on down off of that high horse of yours and actually walk the pavement and see what you can do that way rather than force the homeless to some of the shelters you mentioned above, some of which the homeless tell me are full of bugs, theft, violence, and sex assault. It is no wonder many choose to sleep in tents along the sidewalk when some of the facilities offer absolutely no safety and are rife with criminal activity. 

Local businesses are not happy about the ruling but fear speaking to the local media will affect business as advocates of the homeless who never supported the ban are known to cause issues for businesses who get vocal in support of the ban. Actual residents in Denver, well walk around and converse with them and see how they feel, all I hear from them is a lot of whining about all the money they paid to live downtown like somehow that money should be utilized to remove the hideous homeless eyesores right? The mentality is more like just get rid of it so we don’t have to look at it. 

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Here’s the thing, the Judge is right, the ban is an absolute violation of the eight amendment, and those of you that support the ban should be ashamed of yourselves, you care more about illegal immigrant rights than the rights of those who were born here. You want to force them out of living off the streets yet you lack the wherewithal to actually understand or comprehend why some of these individuals are homeless and when you don’t get it, you are never going to be able to help resolve the issue. Maybe stop looking down your noses at these human beings and try to help address why they are on the street in the first place and that includes forking over your hard earned money to support ways off of the streets rather than demand the city just somehow magically write a law on the books punishing people for being homeless. 

Cristal M Clark

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