The homeless are suing Denver to stop officials and police from clearing tent cities because apparently living in squalor is a constitutional right and protects people from the COVID.
Technically, advocates for the homeless filed the lawsuit in a federal court to enable the homeless to remain homeless.
Some might think all those advocates’ time could be better spent getting actual homes for the homeless.
But if there were no more homeless, we suppose all those homeless advocates would be out of a job and living on the streets, but we digress.
The lawsuit relies heavily on the CDC guidance, which does not say the homeless should be left undisturbed in tent cities rather than sleep in shelters.
The CDC guidance says to balance the risks, not chose one absolute over another.
Lack of housing contributes to poor physical and mental health outcomes, and linkages to permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness should continue to be a priority. In the context of COVID-19 spread and transmission, the risks associated with sleeping outdoors or in an encampment setting are different than from staying indoors in a congregate setting such as an emergency shelter or other congregate living facility. Outdoor settings may allow people to increase physical distance between themselves and others. However, sleeping outdoors often does not provide protection from the environment, adequate access to hygiene and sanitation facilities, or connection to services and healthcare. The balance of risks should be considered for each individual experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
The lawsuit also frets about camps not given proper advance notice before cleanups, which is needed for the homeless to rally their advocates and radical elected officials in order to clash with police to stop the cleanups.
A settlement reached last year in another case brought by homeless people required the city to give people seven days notice before conducting large-scale cleanups and property removal but did include an exception for emergencies.
What the city needs is a CdeBaca Clause limiting notices in unusual circumstances, like when Denver Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca keeps leaking the cleanups so protestors will show up to try and stop the action.
Next thing you know, Tay Anderson from the Denver school board falls during a police scuffle and has to go to the hospital to take a selfie.
Because of the actions of these elected officials and others, It makes zero sense for the city to give notice when that time is being squandered to try and stop the relocation, rather than offering aid to the homeless to relocate to a shelter or find a home.