On October 24, about 70 Denver Police Department and Denver Sheriff’s Department officers, including swat units, arrested 10 homeless activists for trying to set up a ‘tiny homes’ village for city’s homeless at Sustainability Park without proper permits. The riot police then destroyed several tiny homes created by Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) – a group “composed of homeless people and supporters”.
A homeless Denver man named Kevin Beasley told CBS News that watching police knock down the micro-homes was upsetting. “People need to have hope that they can do something. So to quash something like that in an instant is to rob them of a dream,” he said.
This is vile, stormtrooper tactics–we have descended to the depths as a society and it disgusts me… https://t.co/uZht81jV3B
— Teel James Glenn (@teeljamesglenn) October 26, 2015
According to the activists, the Denver Housing Authority, which owns the property, had initially removed hundreds of low-income housing units to create the park. Now the Authority plans to sell the land, currently used by three urban farms, to a private developer, “who will build multifamily housing that will support gentrification in Curtis Park but be far beyond the reach of those for whom the Authority is supposed to exist”. For the activists, the development of Sustainability Park for such a purpose supports gentrification while ignoring the issue of homelessness in Denver – and therefore, they want to construct a tiny homes village on the same location.
“The activists, homeless people and supporters had been constructing tiny homes and trying to find a location for the village for over a year. But due to zoning and code constraints they have not been able to find a legal place to put the houses. As a result, the grassroots organization moved a handful of micro-houses onto Sustainability Park and proceeded to erect more homes for the homeless.”
Not ready to back-off, activists arrested Saturday night were back at the scene of ‘trespassing’ on Sunday, protesting what they call a homeless epidemic.
“Denver Public Works destroyed, threw into dump trucks, and carted away the homes that had been so badly needed by houseless people and so lovingly constructed by those who would have lived there and their supporters,” the activists said.“We will not give up! We will keep fighting to defend people’s right to housing.”
Denver police say they have returned some of the temporary homes that were confiscated. However, the organizers called it a lie.
The tiny homes village is named Resurrection Village after the similarly named tent city which Martin Luther King Jr’s Poor People’s Human Rights Campaign built in Washington DC to demand higher wages and access to decent housing. The activists want to provide low-cost, safe and sustainable housing for members of the houseless community, gaining the right to put up tiny homes in Denver, ending the criminalization of homelessness, and maintaining urban farms.
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