As members of the Christian faith and participants in Christian churches in the city of Denver, Colorado, we oppose the city-wide ordinance to prohibit unauthorized camping in Denver.
We believe that the poor and marginalized are highly valued by God, as they are mentioned in the Bible over 2,000 times - the contexts in which they appear mandating that God’s people be a people attentive to their needs. The Bible’s explicit instruction to care for those living without basic survival resources informs our opposition to this bill, and the following verse demonstrates the expectation of that message: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:22)
Our faith rests on an ever-present concept of abundance – that we may have life in abundance, love in abundance, and care for each other in abundance – and we oppose this policy because it represents scarcity. It communicates that Denver has run out of compassion for our homeless sisters and brothers, that we have run out of tolerance for the visibility of poverty in our community, and that we have run out of space for those who have no where else to turn (or who have opted out of shelter opportunities for various reasons only they understand).
We stand for endeavors to create more space for the homeless. We stand against any endeavor that would further crowd them out, ignore them, or make invisible the injustice of poverty on our fellow residents.
We believe that our work as a community of faith is to bring those whose lives are disproportionately affected by injustice into the light, into our shared spaces, and into our homes. We oppose this policy because it seeks to push our homeless brothers and sisters further into darkness and invisibility.
We urge you to reconsider the Urban Camping Ban Ordinance. Instead, we challenge you to consider policies and an implementation of resources that would further include and support community members experiencing homelessness, which would improve the physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health all of the residents of Denver - those with homes and those without.