A Denver homeless advocacy group issued a news release Saturday saying that some people experiencing homelessness at an encampment at 8th and Logan probably will turn down the city’s offer to stay in the newly acquired Best Western Hotel in Park Hill.
“Many residents are thrilled to have an indoor hotel room to stay - especially as winter approaches,” according to Housekeys Action Network Denver, or HAND. “Others at this camp wanting a room are being told they did not get on the list for a room because they weren't present when (the city Department of Housing Stability) was talking names. Others are not interested in going to this hotel for very understandable reasons, including halfway house-like rules at the hotel that prohibit any guests from visiting (including family), prohibit substance use of any kind, require regular, invasive no-notice room checks, and more. “
HAND says placement in the hotel is akin to setting some up to fail. “It is a surety that many people will move into Best Western only to be kicked out days, weeks or months later with the frigid rules they have set.”
Governor, guests ‘don’t want to see poverty,’ HAND says
HAND alleges the mayor’s office has targeted the encampment at 8th and Logan because it’s across the street from the Governor’s Mansion. But the mayor’s office denies that. “That is how the mayor is prioritizing people for hotel or micro unit options - visibility, not vulnerability,” HAND said in their news release. “Instead of following any of our demands that the most vulnerable people be offered hotel rooms (if they even want them, given all the insane rules), the mayor is executing this ‘encampment decommissioning’ based on the politics of getting houseless people out of sight of rich people, like the Governor and his guests, who don't want to see poverty.”
The moving process is expected to take from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. HAND said people who want to come help the encampment dwellers move are welcome. “People going to the hotel may need additional bags or boxes to put the stuff they have to put in storage, as they are only allowed to take two bags with them to the hotel (imagine moving your entire life's belongings in only two bags),” HAND stated. “Extra Sharpie markers could help with labeling. People not going to the hotel will need help moving to a new block, so vehicles, carts, bungee cords, and such will be helpful for them. These folks will likely need more help on Tuesday. Everyone will be hungry and thirsty with the moving process, so any food or drinks will be appreciated.”
HAND asks that those who come to help try to find an advocate with HAND or Mutual Aid Monday. “If advocates are not present when you are there, talk to others there about what is needed and how you can help. Some people may want help packing, but others may not - so please respect people's space and needs.”