Can Denver afford to criminalize its homeless?
Unlike Hungary, a bankrupt nation that still decided to pass a law to fine and imprison their homeless, Denver has options for spending taxpayer dollars in a more supportive way for its most vulnerable people.
The ordinance that would ban unauthorized camping is a bad idea. It is morally bankrupt and fiscally irresponsible. Not only does it set Denver up for a long term deficit, but it also handicaps those who are already entrenched in a cycle of deep poverty and diminished prospects.
The cost to Denver’s taxpayers for increasing poverty by fining and imprisoning these individuals is immense. We know, from 2008 data, that it less expensive (with a greater return on investment) to fund housing first initiatives over jail cells. With the current financial crisis, Denver ought to think long and hard about the ongoing repercussions?
The effect on the individual is lifelong, especially with regards to employment. Consider this scenario—an individual is fined for not being able to afford housing. The fine may not only affect his/her criminal record, but his/her credit history. Due to current legislation allowing employers to check potential employee’s credit scores, these individuals are now less likely to get a job. This increases an individual’s debt, decreases his/her employability, ensures his/her inability to afford housing and continues to move him/her further away from self-sufficiency.
This isn’t Hungary; this is the United States of America.
Please let others know that this is not sound fiscal policy. The effects are far reaching from the lives of individuals to the business and institutions that taxpayers fund. Let’s focus on prevention and intervention not criminalization. Let’s not add more barriers while continuing to take away opportunities. Please sign the petition and show DENVER CITY COUNCIL that you oppose THE CITY-WIDE ORDINANCE TO PROHIBIT UNAUTHORIZED CAMPING.
Vote NO on the the City-Wide Ordinance to Prohibit Unauthorized Camping
Although this is an attempt to "de-fang" Occupy Denver, it hurts our most vulnerable population-the homeless