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We asked 100 homeless people if they'd rather sleep outside or in a shelter

A vast majority of the people experiencing homelessness who spoke to 9Wants to Know said they'd rather sleep outside in the cold than in a shelter. Their reasons why varied.

Jeremy Jojola, Katie Wilcox

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Published: 11/21/2017 7:42:13 AM
Updated: 7:42 AM MST November 21, 2017
Becky says she doesn't stay in homeless shelters because they're dirty and she catches "s***." 

As she stood by a grocery cart filled with every one of her possessions, 24-year-old Becky Hansen wrapped herself in a blanket.

It was beginning to snow.

She stared as police and city workers removed tarps and furniture from the sidewalk.

Her homeless encampment, a city park just off Broadway and 6th Avenue, was being “swept.”

The city encouraged Becky and the others staying in the encampment to go to a shelter that evening, but Becky refused to go.

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“Oh I don’t like shelters,” Becky said. “My anxiety with new people, especially in large groups, sets me off into major panic attacks.”

Becky was one of 70 homeless people who told 9Wants to Know they’d prefer to sleep outside, on the streets of Denver instead of inside one of the city’s homeless shelters.