We love Denver and we want our city to be a safe and supportive place for everyone. Initiative 300: Right to Survive will be on Denver’s May 2019 ballot, which would overturn the city’s ordinance that outlaws camping in parks or on sidewalks, or setting up residence in a car. Denver High-Rise Living is here to help explain what it’s all about!
WHAT IS IT
A law passed by Denver City Council in 2012 made illegal “camping” (eating, sleeping, or and/or storing personal possessions) in Denver public spaces like streets and parks. This initiative would reverse that, not only making it legal to sleep in public spaces, but also adding the express legality of sleeping in one’s legitimately parked vehicle (or someone else’s, with their permission), as well as distributing, exchanging, or consuming free food in public spaces, so long as food is not explicitly banned there.
WHO’S FOR IT
The Denver Right to Survive Committee (DRSC), the measure’s proponent organization, says Denver’s 2012 camping ban amounts to “criminalizing homelessness” and makes individuals experiencing homelessness less safe by forcing them “to move from safer, well-lit areas to unsafe places, and has resulted in the destruction of life-sustaining property and shelters” (like sleeping bags and tarps).
WHO’S AGAINST IT
A committee called Together Denver formed in opposition to the initiative, arguing it could limit use of public spaces and lead to adverse public health outcomes.
- Allows people to camp in all outdoor public places, like parks and sidewalks, indefinitely.
- Prohibits Denver from enforcing essential laws that protect public health and safety.
- Fails to support people experiencing homelessness – doesn’t provide any new funding for services like shelters, counseling or job training – or address the causes of homelessness.
Initiative 300 isn’t just about downtown Denver – it impacts all of our neighborhoods. If Initiative 300 passes, people will be allowed to camp in your neighborhood park or playground, sleep in the alley behind your house or live out of their car or RV parked in front of your home. Denver would be the first city in the country to enact a law that allows people the right to rest and shelter on city sidewalks and public areas.
Be sure to read up on Initiative 300 before heading to the ballots in May!