To Whom It May Concern:
As a Denver metro-area faith leader, I cannot condone the treatment of this city’s poorest and most vulnerable residents -- people experiencing homelessness. As the weather grows colder, I am deeply concerned for the wellbeing of those sleeping on the streets in our community. I believe the current policies being implemented by our city officials and law enforcement, combined with the scarcity of housing and other resources for our growing population of people experiencing homelessness, are putting vulnerable people’s lives and safety at risk.
Because of this, I am signing this statement with other faith leaders to request that Denver City Council and the Mayor’s office take swift action to immediately suspend enforcement of the camping Ban and Encampment Cleanup policies -- known as the homeless “sweeps” -- that were passed in 2012 and ramped up in 2016. We request this suspension be for a term of no less than six months, starting immediately and extending until May 2017. Additionally, we request that the city develop a comprehensive plan to ensure adequate and dignified affordable housing is available for all people -- particularly those who currently lack access.
We ask you to commit to working with faith communities who wish to create transitional and affordable housing by clearing zoning and ordinance barriers and to committing additional resources. I look forward to joining the quickly growing and diverse coalition of stakeholders engaging in dialogue towards an alternative comprehensive plan to scale up dignified transitional and permanent housing for those currently without that access.
Thank you for your consideration. Our prayers are with you.