The ACLU of Colorado today sent a letter to the Denver City Council, opposing the proposed city-wide ordinance to prohibit unauthorized camping, calling it an unconstitutional and mean-spirited attempt to criminalize homelessness.
In the letter dated April 16, 2012, ACLU Public Policy Director Denise Maes said the proposed ordinance is unwise because it frustrates the work of service providers and is a costly investment of city dollars. The ordinance, Maes wrote, is likely to be counterproductive, if approved, because it perpetuates the cycles of homelessness, resulting in arrests, convictions and making it more difficult for homeless people to gain housing and/or employment.
Maes said the ordinance, as proposed, criminalizes homelessness in plain view.
Denver, Maes wrote, can do better than a criminalization approach and must address the true problem of homelessness in the city.
Read the letter here.