Connecting people with the services they need

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4/30/2012  RssIcon

As Mayor, I’m charged with ensuring the health and safety of our City as a whole. To do this, I must balance the needs of our residents, businesses, neighborhoods and community partners.

It is inhumane to have people sleeping on the streets and out in the elements. As a community, we can and must do a better job connecting those in need to the services that will enable them to lead self-sustained, vibrant lives.

In order to reach the highest levels of health and well-being in our City, we need additional tools in our toolbox.

The proposed unauthorized camping ordinance, paired with enhanced comprehensive services, will allow us to mobilize people to needed resources while preserving Denver’s public property and maintaining the workability and livability of private property.

Having been homeless as a child, I will always take a thoughtful and compassionate approach to this issue.  While the proposed ordinance would prohibit camping on public and private property without specific permission, I am also insisting on safeguards to protect people from unfair or unjust treatment.

The proposal outlines a prominent role for outreach workers to help assess the health and human service needs of any individual subject to this ordinance.

The outreach workers will work with each affected individual and our provider partners to find shelter, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, medical services and other relevant services as they deem appropriate or necessary.

Through the collaborative work of the Department of Human Services, Denver’s Road Home and Denver Police Department, we are creating a citywide policy that will treat every camping situation uniquely and make any punitive action the last resort.

We are also hard at work to ensure our 1,400 police officers are well-trained to implement this ordinance with the right goal in mind: getting people to the services they need.

We know we cannot do this alone. We must work closely with our community and regional partners to provide the resources necessary to vulnerable populations, while maintaining the integrity of our vibrant City.

The engagement of our business, community and regional partners is critical to this issue. Only by working together can we deliver a world-class city where everyone matters.

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