Homelessness

Denver Police Can No Longer Take Blankets From Freezing Homeless People. For Now, Anyway

Mayor temporarily suspends the confiscation of survival gear from homeless during cold weather months.

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Don't touch my junk
Alesnowak/Dreamstime.com

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D) has decided the lives and property rights of homeless people will temporarily be prioritized ahead of the city's ban on "unauthorized camping," which has been in effect since 2012.

Hancock suspended the police practice of confiscating blankets, tents, and other survival gear when enforcing the camping ban for the duration of Denver's cold weather season after a number of videos showing police engaging in sweeps of property confiscation went viral.

In a statement announcing the suspension of confiscations through the end of April, Mayor Hancock said, "Urban camping — especially during cold, wet weather — is dangerous and we don't want to see any lives lost on the streets when there are safe, warm places available for people to sleep at night." Hancock added, "We never intended to take the belongings that people need to keep warm."

The Denver PD can still issue fines of up to $999 for sleeping outside.

Homelessness is never an easy issue for cities to try to solve, but punitive theft of private property isn't exactly going to endear the homeless to law and order, nor is it going to make the concept of going to a homeless shelter — often more violent and dysfunctional environments than the streets themselves — more appealing.

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  1. Bring back insane asylums.

    1. And put city council members there?

      1. And put cops there. Most of them are low-functioning sociopaths.

    2. Fuck off, slaver.

      1. I agree with you Tonio, I live in a small town and we had some around here. When they closed these people have to live on the street now. I don’t know of a solution but the old one is not what we need to go back to.

        1. The abuse of involuntary commitment was huge. Think about that – you incentivize government doctors to find people insane so they can lock them up in government hospitals. Which works well enough up to the point that you run out of the actual insane and then start locking up the merely odd and inconvenient.

          The reason I used the phrase “Fuck off, slaver” was as a tribute to JsubD, a longtime poster here who gave us that phrase. JsubD died a few years back and we found out that he was a homeless vet living on the streets and posting from a computer at the public library.

          1. I know the back story Tonio. You guys have learnt meh gud.

            1. Thanks for remembering.

              I never pass up an opportunity to tell the story of JsubD here for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t heard it.

              1. Thank Kew, Ah did not know…

          2. The fact that X was abused is not an argument that X should never be used. Leaving insane people to live on the streets is not compassion, nor liberty.

            1. You help people help themselves, not by helping them “for their own good”.

            2. No, it is, in fact, liberty. What you are proposing is the opposite of liberty.

            3. And we still have mental hospitals, despite your earlier claim.

              1. And involuntary commitment.

                1. But involuntary commitment is extremely difficult. Ask C. Anacreon.

              2. The reality is that we don’t have those facilities anymore. There are roughly 35,000 ‘public’ psychiatric beds in the US now. The vast majority of those are taken up by acute patients in psychotic ‘breaks’ – not by chronic patients who just simply have a tough time surviving daily life.

                In 1958, the US had 558,000 ‘public’ psychiatric beds. You can make good arguments that the treatment in those hospitals then was too harsh and coercive. But a 95% reduction is not an indicator of either a massive increase in shiny happy people or humane treatment or anything like that. It is simply cheap – and the cost is the increase in homeless folks.

                1. Thank you, JFree.

              3. Not really, Tonio. Many mental hospitals closed down in the ’60s, for several reasons: Medicare reimbursement rules, the de-institutionalization movement, and the belief that new psychoactive drugs were enough. One result of all that is a lot of homelessness. (Though of course there are other reasons for homelessness, as well.)

      2. Every Xmas Papaya settles down in his chair to watch his favorite heartwarming holiday movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

        1. That was my mom’s favorite movie. They commited her and gave her shock treatment. Her IQ was over 160 and because her parents didn’t understand her they sent her away. Real good way to make someone “better”.
          Funny thing was that scarred her for life. She went to college to study interior decorating. Crazy, I know.

          1. That’s fucked up, bacon-magic. Wow. Yes, I agree, insane asylums were evil. There is a reason they were closed down. There is no easy solution here, other than having a shelter people can come and use voluntarily.

            1. Life is fucked up. We all are responsible(individually) in trying to make it better for ourselves. My mother taught me how not to give up on that. And many other things. She died when I was 10, a day after my birthday(I still think the hospital “fudged” the time stamp). It sounds tragic until you realize that my story is nothing compared to millions of other people’s(including the plight of the homeless) stories of tragedy, most of which my optimism tells me turn out for the better.

              1. My mom also died while I was very young, so I can sort of relate. But you are right, we should be grateful, for our lives are so much better than so many millions in this world. You know that that is one very consistent thing that research has uncovered as correlating with happiness: expressions of gratitude.

                1. Yes, at least neither of our moms are like Winston’s mom. Cockgobbler is one term to describe Winston’s mom.

        2. Or just the watch Nurse Ratched?

          1. Watching Louise Fletcher cure society’s ills always brings a smile to Papaya’s face.

        3. When Billy Bibbit kills himself, he just laughs and laughs.

        4. Is Brute Force (1947) an argument against incarceration?

          For people who often complain about “collectivizing,” libertarians sure can be blind to any sort of nuance.

          1. How are you even talking? You should be dead from ebola now, right?

            For newcomers, this is a reference to Papaya having gone batshit insane when we had those couple of ebola cases in the USA. His predictions were of an hysterical nature and dead wrong.

            1. Every Christmas Papaya settles down in his chair to watch some of his favorite holiday movies: Outbreak and the Andromeda Strain. The part in Outbreak where they fail to firebomb that town into oblivion always brings a tear to his eye.

            2. Don’t lie, Tonio. I expressed more concern over the contagious nature of ebola than most around here, true. The fact that it kept killing doctors and other medical personal concerned me, and I thought we were not taking enough precautions. That hardly counts as “batshit insane.”

          2. I’m not exactly seeing much nuance on your end, either. Questions like, what would constitute an “insane asylum” in the present day, why/how would people get sent there, why/how would they be able to leave, etc. are left unaddressed by your comments.

  2. Police no longer allowed to steal from poorest people!

    1. Until they make a furtive movement, that is.

      1. No, no! Then they shoot them, not steal from them!

  3. the police practice of confiscating blankets, tents, and other survival gear when enforcing the camping ban for the duration of Denver’s cold weather season

    That is a cackling supervillian sort of move.

    1. Snidely Whiplash hardest hit.

      1. +1 tied to the railroad tracks

        1. A cool song with a reference to railroad track tying.
          Yes, tastes in music is subjective. That means don’t be a dick.

          1. Ever notice how nowadays politics and religion aren’t nearly as touchy a subject as musical taste?

            1. Fuck all y’all, swing is too coming back a third time! [blasts “Zoot Suit Riot”]

              1. You know the favorite band of the server squirrels, right?

              2. *slowly lindy hops away from X*

          2. I think you linked the wrong thing there. I did not find a cool song when I clicked.

            1. Yeah, well, it wasn’t a Swifty song soooooooo…shake it off. Eat a dick and shake it off after, shake it, shake it off.

              1. That’s it, now we’ve got bad blood.

                1. In your wildest dreams.

  4. Say, what happens if someone dies as a result of the confiscation?

    1. I assume the police stand around in the cold and crack inappropriate jokes until the body-bag unit shows up.

      1. I wish this was a joke.

    2. The mayor gives a speech about “our most vulnerable citizens” and then the council jacks up property taxes to funnel money towards “advocacy”.

      1. I wish this was a joke, too.

  5. Homelessness is never an easy issue for cities to try to solve,

    It’s a very easy problem to solve: End residential zoning laws. End rent control. Re-legalize SRO’s, flophouses, AirBNB, etc.

    1. Nah. You also need to figure out what to do with crazy people. Letting them starve and freeze would count, I suppose.

      1. There will always be some percentage of the population that does not have the ability to care for themselves.

        The solutions are generally limited to government intervention; charity; or letting them suffer in the streets.

        1. And the decision which solution to pursue is inevitably up to lawyers and the court.

        2. Or with the majority of the homeless, a choice not to take care of themselves.

          1. I don’t know how many homeless people you actually met, but a large proportion of them have some sort of mental disorder. Those seemingly healthy-bodied people begging on medians at intersection? They are usually not homeless.

            1. There’s a guy here in Tucson who sells newspapers* at the median of a big intersection. He’s kind of a fixture in that neighborhood.

              He drives to and from every day in, I believe, a Mercedes.

              *Usually a proxy for begging.

            2. Yeah, long term homeless are pretty much mentally ill, addicts or runaways.

  6. Government is just a name for the blankets we take from freezing people… together.

  7. Denver is a shit hole. What happened to that place? They collect money in the TSA lines for homeless people in the airport . That’s what you get I guess.

    1. What happened to that place?

      A huge influx of progtards from CA.

      1. As a 70-year resident of Denver I can assure you this statement is spot on. The morons from California come and tell us how messed up that paradise is, then they come to community council or board meetings and suggest, “this is how we did it in Californistan.”

        1. 33 yr resident of Colorado Springs, can confirm what Louis said. The cognitive dissonance is mind boggling. They’re too stupid to realize that the values and ideals they voted for in CA are what demolished that state, so they leave, and start doing the exact same thing to the new state they came into, then sit around and wonder why it follows them around, never realizing that they’re the problem.

        2. Woodchipper.

    2. They collect money in the TSA lines for homeless people in the airport .

      So many ways to parse, so little time.

  8. In a statement announcing the suspension of confiscations through the end of April, Mayor Hancock said, “Urban camping ? especially during cold, wet weather ? is dangerous

    No kidding. Every year, Hancock attends a vigil for the homeless who died on the streets of Denver and gives a speech. Every year. It’s almost as big a moment for him as the Thanksgiving feeds down at the shelters on 25th.

    Urban camping. As if these people are setting up deer blinds and Coleman lanterns at the Cherry Creek Mall. Homeless, Hancock. You’re talking about homeless people.

    and we don’t want to see any lives lost on the streets when there are safe, warm places available for people to sleep at night.”

    There are safe, warm places available for people to sleep at night.

    Hancock added, “We never intended to take the belongings that people need to keep warm.”

    It was written accidentally into the law. Oops.

    1. “We never intended to take the belongings that people need to keep warm.”

      “It was just a side effect of us doing exactly that.”

      1. Liek, literally.

        “Camp” means to reside or dwell temporarily in a place, with shelter. The term “shelter” includes, without limitation, any tent, tarpaulin, lean-to, sleeping bag, bedroll, blankets, or any form of cover or protection from the elements other than clothing. The term “reside or dwell” includes, without limitation, conducting such activities as eating, sleeping, or the storage of personal possessions.

    2. “We wrote WHAT?!!”

      /City Council

    3. I can’t think of anyone who would ever want to “urban camp” besides the homeless.
      Unless its become a hipster thing. I can see those bastards trying to make it a thing.

      1. Urban campaign and freeganism is all the rage these days.

        1. *camping not campaign you dumb bitch phone…

        2. I think “urban campers”* is just PC speak for homeless. “Homeless” became a verboten word, like panhandler, beggar, bum, hobo, derelict, wino, vagrant, etc.

          *see also: urban nomad

          1. I googled urban camping, looks like hipsters choosing to be pretend homeless.

            1. SF is correct. In Denver, “urban camping” has replaced “homeless”. Because we’re not banning homeless people, gods bless you sir, no! That would be horrible and elitist and unprogressive. They’re just banning urban camping, which is anyone on private or public land without the owner/controller’s permission, sheltered under anything more than clothing.

              So. Not homeless people.

            2. Well, OWS was a thing. But I think it’s by far mostly the usual bunch of homeless crazy people and addicts/drunks. Maybe a few sex offenders who aren’t allowed to live anywhere else.

            3. That’s not a sleeping bag, it’s my winter burka.

    4. BTW. Unless your a druggie, I can’t think of why someone would choose to sleep on the streets rather than at a shelter. I’ve volunteered at a homeless shelters before and they have some great food. All the restaurants in the area would drop off their about to expire food for a tax break.
      My father also used to run a homeless shelter in Laguna Beach and the shelter was right on the beach. You could stay in the shelter get up and go surfing the next morning. The location was amazing. In fact they had trouble with tourists lying that they were homeless so that they could stay there.

    5. Re: “There’s a shortage of shelter beds for homeless families in the metro area”

      There is always a shortage of government free shit.

    6. “We never intended to take the belongings that people need to keep warm.”

      That line stuck out to me as well. So, you passed a low explicitly aimed at doing exactly that and then you’re shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that the “unintended consequence” of doing exactly what the law said is that homeless have their shit that they need to stay warm confiscated stolen from them?

      I knew Hancock was a moron, but holy fucking shit.

    7. Gotta love that political correctness, “urban camping”.

      It’s always so funny that the left are the ones who claim to care for the downtrodden, yet they’re the ones who gleefully write in laws screwing them over.

  9. “The Denver PD can still issue fines of up to $999 for sleeping outside.”

    Can we all at least agree that this is the finest example of government “derp-itude” yet? I mean, seriously, we are going to fine a pan-handling homeless person $1K?

    1. Too bad it was deemed unconstitutional to throw someone in prison for not paying a fine. That could have been the quickest way to get these people a warm bed.

    2. We should fine them and then create a jobs program to repay us.

      How about paying them to turn in their blankets?

      We could then get all of these dastardly blankets off the streets.

      Here’s a crazy idea. Eliminate federal minimum wage laws and let totally unskilled, slightly crazy people work pushing brooms.

  10. Don’t big cities charter buses to haul undesirables to other jurisdictions anymore?

    How the hell are homeless people supposed to travel south for the winter without these free rides?

    1. Seriously. Free bus tickets make your problem Daytona’s problem now. And screw them.

  11. Why be a vagrant in Denver? It’s cold there. Even crazy bums must suspect they’ve made a bad decision. Give ’em free bus tickets to Ft. Lauderdale.

    1. Not all homeless are vagrants. Some of them actually manage to hold down jobs (generally fast food, parking attendant, labor pool) or have other sources of income (veteran’s benefits, see JsubD above).

    2. They are already here. By the truckloads.

      But generic homeless isn’t the real problem. It is all of the drug addicts that the rest of the country keeps shipping us. They get court-ordered rehab and they come down here on the tax-dollars of Tennessee or Minnesota and then they decide to hang around for the nice weather after they complete their stay at the halfway house.

      Which is to say that other states are using “outsourcing” of their rehab programs as a convenient method for shipping problematic citizens of to be another state’s problem. Pretty sharp.

      Helping the homeless is a particular issue for me… because we do a lot for the homeless with our church. And it bites us in the rear all the time. We feed a big load of homeless folks at our Saturday service. We hold it outside because of the hygiene issues. 200 people who rarely bath can make close quarters rather unpleasant.

      So they end up hanging around the church and then you have the inevitable break-ins in the parking lot and people who are coming at odd hours for counselling or other church services get hassled.

      But my biggest issue is that we gave them backpacks and bicycles. They were very grateful and I’m sure lots of them were able to put them to good use. But it also means I now have a constant stream of homeless guys on bicycles riding through my neighborhood, which had previously been free of such things due to the distances involved.

  12. I am of course a free trader. But I am a little concerned about this whole China buying Hollywood shit. Hollywood is already a leftist cess pool and now China is getting involved in the industry buying up movie theater chains like AMC and Carmike and Hollywood studios. The censorship in recent movies, like the Red Dawn remake, in order to appease China is getting a little scary. Whats to stop an authoritarian regime with bucket loads of cash from buying up American media and using it to brainwash an electorate? Sure you can boycott Chinese influenced products, which I do, but if all the knuckleheads keep buying tickets that is not going to do much.

    The left has the media and it has education. Pretty soon due to mass immigration and identity politics it will also have demographics on its side, I am not optimistic about the cause of liberty. If we petiton the state to do anything about this its betraying our own cause. So it seems anyway you look at it were screwed. Our only hope and ray of light is that the left is its own worst enemy.

    1. That and the chinese can’t say star wars without sounding funny so they will be out of the pop culture circles. .

    2. There is only one China you asshole!!!

      1. And she died earlier this year.

        [pours out a little bit of scotch onto the ground]

    3. Same thing stopping EVIL CORPORASHUNS from buying all the ads and brainwashing the voters: It wouldn’t work well.

      Look at which films make money and which films fail and you’ll notice that Hollywood is subject to market forces just like anything else.

  13. The Denver PD can still issue fines of up to $999 for sleeping outside.

    I’m guessing that fine only applies (or is effective) against those homeless who can pay that.

    1. Sooner or later, unpaid fines turn into arrest warrants. So, they may not be able to arrest them for vagrancy or whatever, but they can hit ’em with fines, and circle back to arrest them for not paying the fines.

  14. The Denver PD can still issue fines of up to $999 for sleeping outside.

    Issuing fines to people who typically don’t have more than a few bucks to their name is just a way to put them deeper under the thumb of the system — when they can’t pay the fine, as they obviously can’t, then their mere existence is breaking another law, and they can be hassled at will.

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