Oct 20, 2021 - Politics

1-minute guide to Denver's Ordinance 303 on curbing homeless camps

A ballot being dropped into the Denver skyline.

illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Initiated Ordinance 303 is a ballot measure led by Denver GOP chairman Garrett Flicker that aims to crack down on homeless camps and sharpen the teeth of the city's urban camping ban.

How it works: The measure would allow residents to sue the city if enforcement action isn't taken on a homeless encampment 72 hours after it receives a resident complaint.

  • It would also institute a cap of up to four designated camping sites with running water, restrooms and lighting, two of which are already up in the city.

The price tag: The total cost to establish one sanctioned campsite and implement the 72-hour enforcement in 2022 is between $5.08 million and $6.58 million, according to the city's ballot guide.

  • The measure does not specify a funding source to implement the initiative.

Those in favor: Local conservatives, Defend Colorado, the Denver Gazette editorial board and the measure's five proponents.

  • The goal of the ballot measure is to give citizens the power to hold the city accountable and get people off the streets, Flicker tells Axios.

Those opposed: Mayor Michael Hancock's administration, the Denver City Council and local homeless advocates all stand in staunch opposition to the bill.

  • They argue the measure would be overly punitive to people experiencing homelessness, violate federal court orders that require encampments to receive a 7-day notice, and cost "tens of millions" in taxpayer dollars to enforce.

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