Initiative 300 is very challenging when one stops to think about it. I have had a few volunteers ask me about it…so I am putting my thoughts down for your consideration. In no way will I tell anyone how they are to vote. Make sure you do your research and then vote your conscience.

I have tried to find a good copy of the Initiative so I could read it for myself. That in and of itself was a bit challenging.

Those who are asking for the Camping Ban to stay in place are on one side of the issue. Their concerns are for the businesses and local neighbors. They are citizens who are concerned that the City of Denver remain a destination for tourism and a place where families can feel comfortable and safe taking their children to local parks for an afternoon of play. These are all very viable and notable concerns and desires. They represent a vision for a healthy community that is desirable and beneficial to all members of the community.

Those who are asking for the Camping Ban to be repealed are on the other side of the issue. Their concern is for those in our fair city who are experiencing homelessness. They are citizens who are concerned for the dignity and value of human life. They are concerned that the root causes of homelessness may not be addressed if “those people” are out of sight by being made to “move along”. They are concerned for the weight placed on the limited resources in the city of Denver that already has a difficult time meeting the needs of people experiencing homelessness, much less being able to provide a safe place for these same people to live.

In doing my own digging I have not been able to find the “what if” plans for after the vote.

If the Camping Ban is repealed…then what? What plans are in place to dig deeper into the reasons behind homelessness and make a pathway out of homelessness for those who desire to do so. How are the root causes going to be addressed to bring Denver to a functional zero where homelessness is concerned?

If the Camping Ban is left in place…then what? The question that still is in the minds of those who work with and serve people experiencing homelessness is “how do we all move forward together to create a pathway out of homelessness for those who desire to do so?” How are the root causes going to be addressed to bring Denver to a functional zero where homelessness is concerned?

There are no easy answers for sure. All of us who work with this community of individuals and families recognize the needs, the gaps and the challenges that exist. All of us who live in Denver and want it to be a wonderful place to live and visit are aware of the difficulties presented when people experiencing homelessness seem to be on every corner or asleep along the pathways where we live.

Mostly…I believe we all want to do what is right. I believe we all want to make Denver and the surrounding cities a place where everyone has the best chance possible to live a life worth living and to be counted as valuable to the greater whole.

This may sound like Severe Weather Shelter Network is on the fence regarding this particular initiative. I will not tell you how to vote. I will not judge you for the way you are led to vote.

I will encourage you to be part of the solution in the best ways possible. That is truly the best each of us can do.

 

Lynn Ann Huizingh

Executive Director