Would John Hickenlooper be as effective in the U.S. Senate as he was at ending homelessness?
That’s the question KOA’s Mandy Connell asked her audience Wednesday amid Denver’s significant increase of encampments around the city.
According to a startling 9 News report, there are now 30 different encampments and at least 664 tents around Denver.
Conditions in Denver are growing increasingly unsanitary, with local officials issuing an advisory last week after multiple cases of trench fever were discovered among the homeless population. Trench fever, which is exceptionally rare in Colorado, earned its name during World War I when nearly 20 percent of all British troops fell ill to the disease spread by body lice.
Denver’s homelessness crisis can be traced back to 2003, when then-Mayor John Hickenlooper launched a 10-year plan he said would end homelessness.
When the plan eventually failed, Hickenlooper later insisted it was simply a “marketing ploy,” something former longtime Denver Post reporter Vincent Carroll disputes:
“The 10-year-plan to end homelessness was not merely a marketing ploy,” Carroll told the Washington Free Beacon by email. “Those who crafted and promoted the plan were entirely serious in their belief that they had the policy keys to eliminate homelessness. They were terribly naive, as some of us sensed at the time.”
About the same time Hickenlooper was making the “marketing effort” remarks, the city’s auditor was releasing a scathing audit of “Denver’s Road Home” (DRH), the agency responsible for the plan:
The audit found that DRH has not taken advantage of important resources to reduce homelessness in Denver. First, DRH has not consistently gathered data from service providers it funds, nor has it analyzed this information to demonstrate whether progress towards ending homelessness has been made. In fact, only in year ten of Denver’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness has DRH begun to focus on analyzing the data it receives. In addition, DRH has not structured or managed the Commission so that this advisory group can help the City’ policymakers develop solutions to homelessness in Denver.
Connell ripped two editorials published in the Denver Post prior to the DNC Convention in 2008 that laughably commended Hickenlooper for welcoming the homeless to Denver and praised his alleged commitment to ending homelessness.
“Somebody should ask him about that in the Senatorial debates. ‘Are you going to be as effective in the U.S. Senate as you were at ending homelessness?’” Connell rhetorically asked.
“I guess they really didn’t have their crystal ball to know how this was going to turn out,” Connell said.
Amid Denver’s growing homelessness crisis, @MandyConnell asks:
— Wendy Davidson (@WendyDa05813275) July 22, 2020