Homeless living along South Platte River say they were pushed from downtown Denver

COMMERCE CITY, COLO. - The city of Denver hates the word "sweep."

But it fits, because sweeping doesn't actually pick up anything.

"Sweeping" doesn't lift up anyone. It moves something from one spot to another.

In the case of Denver, the sweeps move people -- out of the trendy neighborhoods near LoDo, and into a new spot near Riverside Cemetery, north of the National Western Complex, just inside the limits of Commerce City.

"We all came up from Denver because of them pushing us off the sidewalks and everything there," said J.R.

He and his street family now live along the banks of the South Platte River.


"We get a little bit of peace out here where they don't go running us off and we try to keep it clean."

It's effectively a tent village, with four to 10 people at each site, spread down the adjacent bike path. 

"We do try to keep the area clean and not messy looking because that is a big eyesore, and that's the last thing people want to see and that's the last thing we want to do."

Next asked the City of Denver about the tent village. They essentially told us, "It's not technically our problem," and Commerce City is getting ready to do the same thing Denver did.

Commerce City PD says the people living along the river have to move from the place they've called a temporary home since the fall. City officials worry that snow melt is going to cause the river to swell, putting people at risk. They also aren't very keen on the whole idea of people living on city property.

Now the people along the river are all asking the same question: where do you go when you have nowhere to go?

"Having to pack up and move all the time and never knowing where I'm going to lay my head ... that really gets to me sometimes and that's why people get mad and flip out very easy," J.R. said.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment