What: Initiative 300 is a citizen-initiated proposal to change the Denver Revised Municipal Code. If approved it would:
Allow people to occupy all outdoor public places, including parks and sidewalks, indefinitely.
Prohibit Denver from enforcing essential laws that protect public safety.
Eliminate all park curfews.
It may also:
Curtail the ability of trained outreach workers from approaching and offering services to people experiencing homelessness. The measure makes it illegal to “harass” anyone exercising his or her rights under the ordinance without providing a clear definition of what constitutes harassing behavior. That ambiguity could have a chilling effect on programs designed to serve the homeless.
Harm our water quality if human waste, drug paraphernalia and trash from encampments near rivers contaminate our waterways.
Increase the risk of an outbreak of communicable diseases like typhus and hepatitis, which are common when large groups of people congregate in unsanitary environments.
Significantly limit or all together preventing Denver Parks from holding permitted or ticketed events in public parks.
Initiative 300 is an overly-broad and poorly written initiative that will create more problems than it solves. Click the button below to view our "Reading Between the Lines" document, which analyzes I-300's many flaws.
Where: Here Are the Locations People Would be Allowed to Live If 300 Passes
Parks and Trails
Large encampments could develop in major urban parks like Washington Park, City Park & Sloan’s Lake, our mountain parks including Red Rocks and our smaller neighborhood parks. Our running and bike paths could be crowded with people living along them and littered with trash and waste that comes with human settlements.
Open Spaces and Rivers
Encampments could develop in open spaces and along our rivers, including the Highline Canal and Platte River. Human waste, including discarded food, trash, feces and urine from the encampments could contaminate our water, threatening the health and safety of animals, people and ecosystems that rely on those rivers.
People could set up camp and live on sidewalks in alleys and in public right of ways around homes. They could also live in parked cars or RVs outside homes. Homeowners would have no recourse.
Neighborhood Business Districts
People could also camp in the small commercial shopping districts throughout Denver neighborhoods that are home to locally-owned stores, coffee shops and restaurants.
Cultural and Sports Facilities
People could live outside and around some of Denver's favorite destinations including:
Museum of Nature and Science
Denver Art Museum
Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Mile High Stadium
Also impacted would be our central business district. Downtown is where thousands of Coloradans live, work and play. It's also a popular destination for visitors from around the country and the world.
Why: Proponents are rightly concerned about the access to affordable housing in Denver and the well being of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. The city of Denver and community partners are taking meaningful steps to create more affordable housing and provide effective outreach and support services to people experiencing homelessness. More could and should be done to ensure Denver is a safe, supportive place for everyone - absolutely.
But Initiative 300 is not a solution to Denver’s housing or homelessness challenges. Allowing people to sleep outside in public places is not safe, healthy or helpful for the people experiencing homelessness or our community. In fact, based on the way this proposal is written, Initiative 300 may make it harder to provide homeless residents with resources and services. Denver should be a place where all people can thrive, not just survive.
Who: A group called Denver Homeless Out Loud initiated this proposal. This organization is affilliated with Occupy Denver.
Meanwhile, Together Denver is a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations who love Denver and want to make sure it is a safe and supportive place for everyone. We have earned the trust and support of individual Denver voters with contributions starting at $10. We also have earned support from associations and business leaders. We are in the process of forming an even larger coalition with faith community leaders and neighborhood organizations and service providers.