Save Arapahoe Square

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The Problem:

It has become paramount for Denver to deal with the consequences of having a large homeless population in Arapahoe Square. Denver has been in a period of rapid growth for the past several years, but while the economy is expanding, so is the issue of homelessness. The city has attempted to solve homelessness by building the new “community center” in Arapahoe Square while ignoring the real problems of drug addiction, gang violence and mental illness. The “community center” has negatively impacted Downtown Denver, especially in the Arapahoe Square Neighborhood.

At the least, Arapahoe Square citizens have dealt with the homeless population camping out at our businesses, urinating and defecating on our property, and piling up massive amounts of garbage that we get to pick up every day. At the most, citizens have endured aggressive panhandling, exposure to disease, harassment and even assault. These problems have directly impacted businesses’ abilities to work with their existing customers, and it has trampled the possibilities of gaining new customers because there is so much filth and aggression. It has become impossible to walk a block in Arapahoe Square without one’s senses being invaded with horrendous stenches. The city administration will not be allowed to continue to shrug its shoulders and tell this neighborhood to ignore and endure.

Short-Term Solutions:

1.      Either the city or the homeless providers need to provide more portable toilets located at the “community center” in order to prevent people from relieving themselves in between cars and on business doors. These portable toilets also need to be maintained!

2.      There needs to be a 24/7 street maintenance crew in order to clean up trash, broken glass, cigarette butts, human waste, etc. when it occurs.

3.      Police presence needs to increase and be present on the streets more often in order to ensure citizens’ safety.

4.      The prohibition of loitering, camping, and sleeping on the sidewalks needs to be enforced.

5.      The city needs to have at least one point of contact for people to report complaints and issues to, such as immediate cleanup of waste or issues with loitering.

6.      Graffiti teams need to be able to get to sites more quickly in order to remove the offending illustrations from the city. If possible, there need to be more graffiti teams.

Long-Term Solutions:

1.      Ideally, homeless shelters and “community centers” need to be relocated away from Arapahoe Square’s businesses.

2.      Establishing simple job opportunities for the homeless would be extremely beneficial. Simple jobs like being part of the cleanup crews would help many.

3.      Installing cheap housing for the homeless would get people off the streets permanently.

The taxpaying citizens of Arapahoe Square are not unsympathetic to the plight of the homeless population, but Denver needs to go about ending homelessness without placing the neighborhood at further risk. The city needs to help the homeless help themselves. When people cannot dig themselves out of poverty and into a job, it then becomes the duty of the city to facilitate the process of creating housing and finding jobs for them.

For instance, the city of Denver may benefit from following Utah’s example because they reduced chronic homelessness by 91%. Utah introduced cheap housing where residents had to pay around $50 a month. Some residents were also provided with counseling services. Providing cheap apartments may seem expensive, but each homeless person costs Utah about $30,000-$50,000 because of jail time and medical care.

Please sign this petition and demand that the city of Denver protects its citizens from chronic homelessness invading their neighborhoods and businesses. Please also sign this petition to demand that the city of Denver help the homeless population out of their circumstances with strategies that are more likely to work. Finally, please share this to as many people as possible!

Taxpaying Denver citizens have the right to live, work and play in a beautiful city.

 

Resources:

For more information on homelessness and its solutions, please check out the links below.

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459100751/utah-reduced-chronic-homelessness-by-91-percent-heres-how

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-utah-housing-first-20150524-story.html

http://nationalhomeless.org/about-homelessness/

 



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