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A homeless encampment in Denver. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver GOP chairman Garrett Flicker filed a ballot initiative Thursday that would cap the number of city-sanctioned campsites for people experiencing homelessness to four or fewer on public land.

  • Residents also could sue the city for failing to remove illegal campsites within 72 hours of a complaint.

What they’re saying: "What we really seek to do is to stop the unsanctioned camping ... and reinforce the urban camping ban," Flicker told Alayna.

Details: The plan would work in conjunction with Denver’s sanctioned homeless camps initiative — a program that has relied on private property owners to grant outdoor space and faced resistance from neighbors nearly every step of the way.

  • Flicker suggested the four managed campsites on public property be funded with cash from the new homeless relief tax voters passed in November, estimated to generate $40 million annually.
  • Each campsite would be required to provide "running water, restroom facilities, and lighting," the ballot initiative reads.

The other side: The measure would be "extremely punitive" to the unhoused community, said Cathy Alderman, head of public policy at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

  • "Until we have more sheltering and housing resources available, we shouldn’t find ways to penalize people because they are experiencing homelessness," she told Axios.
  • The measure also failed to guarantee the camps would be set up or serviced adequately, she said.

Context: An ordinance banned urban camping citywide in 2012, but it hasn't stopped makeshift tent cities from appearing along sidewalks and street corners throughout the city.

  • Opponents argue sweeping away encampments destroys the belongings of those most vulnerable, violates their rights and causes trauma.
  • Supporters — including Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration — say deteriorating conditions at campsites threaten public health and safety.

The big picture: Hancock’s legal team appealed a January order by a federal judge requiring city officials to give a week’s notice before clearing out any homeless encampments.

  • The Hancock administration is working to divert 911 calls related to homelessness from police and reroute them toward a "compassion or civilian corps" —  though police will maintain a presence during sweeps, Axios first reported in February.
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Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
20 mins ago - Technology

Windows goes to 11

Screenshot: Axios

Microsoft on Thursday offered a first look at the next version of Windows, dubbed Windows 11, which is coming this holiday season. The new version changes both the look of the operating system as well as the underlying business model.

Why it matters: Windows has been steadily losing market share on the desktop, which has itself lost prominence to smartphones.

Pelosi announces select committee to investigate Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Nancy Pelosi speaking during a press conference on June 17. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that she will create a House select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The creation of a single Democratic-controlled special committee, which will consolidate several House investigations, comes after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have established a bipartisan 9/11-style commission.

U.S. Latinos earn less, die earlier in segregated areas

A rally in rally in Brooklyn, N.Y., protesting Latino segregation in October 2015. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. Latinos have a higher life expectancy and earn more yearly income when they live in racially mixed neighborhoods compared to areas that are predominantly Black or Latino, an analysis finds.

Why it matters: The study by the University of California Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute released this week shows the physical and economic toll on Latinos as cities become more segregated.