Some Denver city council members and Mayor Michael Hancock have proposed making it illegal to sleep in public places, with a key emphasis on the 16th Street Mall downtown.
"We only have one downtown," Hancock said. "We must protect the vitality of our downtown, the city core. It's for their own safety and well being. We have the opportunity for people who are predatory, people who are criminal, who are doing things that aren't any good to those that need to sleep down there."
It's a plan that poses some challenges for local homeless shelters.
"The problem with this ordinance is they're going to go somewhere else," Alexxa Gagner with the Denver Rescue Mission said.
She said that could pose a problem for the mission.
"We have been full pretty much every night and this last summer. We have been seeing an increase in the number of people we have to turn away because we only have 200 beds," Gagner said.
Gagner said 300 men slept at their shelter Saturday night, which is their capacity, and they said they have received permission from the city to move into their overflow beds. That is something that normally only happens once severe or winter weather moves in.
The proposal has yet to be formally drafted, which means there is still plenty of time for compromise.
"Our biggest responsibility is to ensure that if any laws are enacted and of course this is just a proposal on the table, that we are balancing. That with the services that are needed by folks in these hard situations," Amber Callender with Denver's Road Home said.
That's a priority that seems to be echoed by those in Denver's city government.
"Let's not try to arrest our way out of this but address it with good compassion," Hancock said.
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