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Cities Still Sweeping Away Homeless Camps, Despite Legal Challenges

Denver and Los Angeles kicked the new year off by committing to the enforcement of a sleeping ban and sweeping away a large homeless encampment, respectively.
January 15, 2020, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Denver police will resume their enforcement of the city’s controversial urban camping ban — likely by the end of the week — after a more than two-week hiatus," reports Conrad Swanson.

Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson is committing to the enforcement of the ban approved by the City Council in 2012, despite a county court dismissing a ticket issued to a homeless man for violating the law. "While the ruling said the ban amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, it did not strike down the law or prohibit the city from enforcing it," explains Swanson of Bronson's take on the ruling.

According to Swanson, the Denver City Council approve the law specifically to respond to Boise v. Martin, but the court ruling cited that case in tossing the ticket issued by the city.

"So the Denver camping ban included language that ensured people are offered shelter before police ticket or arrest them, Bronson said, and since then the ordinance has been enforced judiciously and compassionately," writes Swanson.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles: "The final phase of a cleanup of homeless encampments in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area began early Wednesday morning," report Elizabeth Chou and Ariella Plachta. The clean up is expected to continue for several weeks, after months of previous work to clean up other nearby camps.

"Wednesday’s cleanup effort targets a floodplain near Encino Creek, an area people are legally not supposed to enter because of dangers posed during heavy rain," according to the article. "The area floods when Army Corps of Engineers operators close the Sepulveda Dam." The article includes on the ground accounts of the homeless people living in the area and displaced by the clean up.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, January 13, 2020 in The Denver Post
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