Civil Rights Suit Filed Against Denver Challenges Constitutionality of Homeless “Sweeps”

Homeless individuals and advocates in Denver have filed a lawsuit against the city after a dramatic increase in homeless “sweeps” that the suit claims violate constitutional rights. New reports from organizations like the National Coalition for the Homeless show that cities like Washington DC, Dallas, Saint Louis, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles are also trying to deter homelessness by criminalizing it. The Denver lawsuit is getting national attention as a potentially precedent setting example of how the homeless can assert their rights. Hannah Leigh Myers reports.

During a so-called “sweep” city workers forcibly clear and clean a public area where the homeless congregate. They’re told to move along and any items deemed abandoned are relocated for pick-up or destroyed.

“They are taking people’s belongings and literally putting them in trash bags and trash cans,” said a homeless person in an excerpt of a video taken during the first major sweep in Denver in early March of 2016.

Since then, police data shows an uptick in enforcement of the city’s urban camping ban by as much as 500 percent. The video was posted by Denver Homeless Outloud, the advocacy group behind a recently filed lawsuit which argues the city is violating the constitutional rights of its homeless population with a series of municipal ordinances.

Read the entire artle and listen to the story here featuring grantee Denver Homeless Outloud

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