Boulder working to manage homelessness

9NEWS at 4 p.m. 9/16/16.

BOULDER - We’ve often talked about the homeless problem in Denver, but our neighbors in Boulder say they’re also dealing with their own problems when it comes to homelessness.

A recent decision by the Boulder City Council has led to a stricter enforcement of the city’s camping ban.

This after what is being called a perceived steady increase in homelessness over the past few years.

The city contends the enforcing of the camping ban is designed to maintain a safe and welcome environment throughout the city’s public spaces.

“What we have in the community is standards for everyone, regardless of whether they’re housed or unhoused,” Human Services Planning and Program Development Manager Wendy Schwartz said.

Schwartz says the city is in no way trying to target or alienate the homeless population, rather find the balance which makes public places an enjoyable experience for all. Part of the city’s task now is to find new solutions to what appears to be a growing problem.

“We want to have the best possible data for data driven solutions and really understand the problem to our best possible ability,” Schwartz said

Members of the homeless population say they’ve noticed the city’s increased efforts to enforce the camping ban. One man, Bright Evan, says he’s been contacted by police far more frequently than in the past.

“Everywhere I went a cop showed up, and they’re just really cracking down” Evans said.

A homeless woman named Amanda told 9NEWS that the problem with increased enforcement of the ban is that those who are arrested or told to move on often have no other place to go.

Many of them simply go out of town and further away from resources like shelters and churches which provide basic services needed by the homeless. Amanda hopes lawmakers stop trying to paint the homeless issue with a broad brush.

“You can’t put that on everybody, that’s not everybody’s fault. We’re not one person we’re different people,” Amanda said.

Wendy Schwartz said the city is currently working to get a closer idea of just how many people are affected by homelessness in area. Once that happens, they can have a better idea of what resources are needed and identify what would be the best approach to implement those plans.

“There’s never a magic bullet in complicated long-term issue like this,” Schwartz said.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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