Sports Authority has a special permit from the City of Denver to allow tents and people to camp this week for its annual SNIAGRAB sale.
The permit allows roughly two blocks of public sidewalk space for Sports Authority to monitor and control.
Still, a handful of homeless people protested Thursday outside Sports Authority's East 10th Avenue and Broadway location.
They said they perceive a double standard; that someone with money can apply for a permit to camp, while someone without money, with no other place to turn, can be threatened with arrest if they camp on the streets.
"I've been on the streets going on 6 years," Jakeob Olson said as he held a cardboard sign that read "Isn't Urban Camping Illegal?"
"I don't feel this is right," he said. "They can go and get a permit for them to be able to camp out here, where if I go down and sleep along the river I'm breaking the law, and I get a ticket and go to jail."
"You can't compare apples and oranges," Denver Public Works Spokeswoman Ann Williams said. "These are very different things."
It's different, Williams said, because the City of Denver has given Sports authority the right to have people sleep outside for a certain amount of time.
"It's not just camping by the river," Williams said. "It's an event with an end date and a start date."
In all, Sports Authority paid $323 for a weeklong permit that started Aug. 24 and ends Sept. 1. The company was also required to show it had $1 million in liability insurance, Williams said.
There is security hired by Sports Authority, clean-up crews, port-o-lets, dumpsters, and wide access for people to get by.
"There is a cost for taking it away from you and I for private use," Williams said.
She also said any group is welcome to apply for a permit while individuals should take advantage of services offered by different agencies so they don't have to sleep outside overnight.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)