Denver sweeps people experiencing homelessness from Capitol Hill camps

Homeless encampments in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood were cleared on Tuesday morning by city officials.

The sweep happened along East 14th Avenue and Logan Street, according to Nancy Kuhn,  director of Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI).

Last week DOTI posted a notice of intent to clean several Capitol Hill locations “because of deteriorating conditions and a significant number of encumbrances interfering with the public’s use of the right-of-way,” according to a statement.

Officials with the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) have been monitoring camps in the neighborhood with “increasing concern,” the statement said.

Access to 14th and Logan is restricted today under the public health authority “so that cleaning, abatement, and restoration to the area may occur.”

The city has received concerns from the public about “significant health and safety issues” in the area. Concerns include: trash, improperly discarded syringes, human waste, presence of pests, rodents and flies. The city describes conditions in the camps as “unsanitary.”

On Monday a federal lawsuit was filed against Denver in an attempt to stop the city from clearing homeless camps. The suit claims such operations violate constitutional rights of homeless people and that sweeps also raise the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

On Tuesday Denver officials said that the city “continuously works to connect people to shelter and other resources.” The city said it offers free storage of personal possessions for up to 60 days for people who are moved as part of the sweep.

Denver is working on plans to establish several designated campsites for people experiencing homelessness.

The DDPHE will also sweep and restrict access to camps this week at 14th and Pennsylvania and Clarkson streets.

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