On Tuesday morning, during a snowstorm, Denver police raided a homeless encampment and ordered them to take down the tents they had set up to protect themselves from the dangerous freezing weather.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) December 15, 2015
Police arrived at the temporary tent city called Resurrection Village around 6AM, amid high winds, a foot of snow on the ground, and 19 degree weather — as the residents slept and attempted to keep warm and dry.
Independent media outlet Unicorn Riot was on the scene and livestreamed the dispersal, as officers forced the homeless human beings who were just trying to survive into below-freezing weather.
Representatives from Unicorn Riot reported that police suggested that they would have left the people alone “if Resurrection Village was placed somewhere unseen,” because apparently keeping those who have beds and a roof over their heads comfortable is more important than keeping those without the safety of a home alive.
A homeless community member responded to the officer by stating, “If you’re trying to change something, you don’t go and hide, you bring it to the forefront.”
The organization called Denver Homeless Outloud wrote on their website about the tent city, prior to the arrival of the police.
“Tonight, despite the Urban Camping Ban, we set up tents on this land because it is snowing and we who are houseless must stay warm and dry somehow. Meanwhile, all over the city there is public land–land on which in many cases there used to be affordable housing–land which now sits vacant or is being sold to private developers. We have a responsibility to use this public land to meet the public need!” DHO wrote on their website.
In 2012, Denver voted to pass the “Urban Camping Ban,” effectively criminalizing homelessness, despite massive protests — and the natural right of human beings to exist.
At the end of October, ten people from Denver Homeless Outloud were arrested for building tiny homes for those in need.
“Today hundreds of people came out to Sustainability Park in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Denver to build a tiny home village where three urban farms are being displaced to build an apartment development,” activists from the organization had wrote on Facebook.
They further explained in a statement:
“The Denver Housing Authority, which owns the property, has torn down hundreds of low-income housing units, and after allowing the Urban Farming Cooperative to use the land for a few years, has agreed this year to sell the land to a private developer, who will build multifamily housing that will support gentrification in Curtis Park but be far beyond the reach of those for whom the Denver Housing Authority is supposed to exist.”
Despite the clear need for places for people to sleep, the Denver Housing Authority called the police who tore down the tiny community.
“Denver Public Works destroyed, threw into dump trucks, and carted away the homes that had been so badly needed by houseless people and so lovingly constructed by those who would have lived there and their supporters,” activists said.
According to a survey conducted in January 2015, there were at least 6,130 homeless people in the seven county metropolitan Denver area.
Of those counted, 37% were women and 49% were families with children.
Featured image via screenshot