Following the onset of COVID-19 and the rippling effects of the pandemic on housing, healthcare, job and food security, the number of people surviving outside is currently at its highest point in Colorado since 2014. On any given day, there are 1000 people sleeping outside and a recorded 6000 unhoused people living in Denver in 2020. Municipalities throughout Colorado have created laws making it illegal for those who are unhoused to rest in public spaces, while limiting the number of shelters or safe outdoor spaces for them to turn to, putting unhoused individuals, renters, and homeowners in turbulent situations.
The ACLU of Colorado is committed to decriminalizing homelessness while working with grassroots partners to create solutions that work for all Coloradans. Our efforts include protecting the right to Free Speech for panhandlers in Greeley, and defending Colorado’s Eighth Amendment which allows a person to sleep outside when shelter is unavailable to them. We are committed to continue our work with unhoused advocates to disrupt the systems that force people into homelessness.