Aurora City Council gave its final approval to Mayor Mike Coffman’s urban camping ban ordinance on Monday night.
The new ordinance, which was passed in a 6-5 vote, prohibits homeless encampments on private or public property. It also requires the city to give at least 72 hours notice to residents of a camp before the city can have the camp shut down. The city must also find shelter for individuals living in camps if requested.
“This bill does not criminalize homelessness,” Coffman said during Monday night’s meeting. “It simply says that if someone refuses a lawful order from a police officer, then they can be subject to arrest and certain penalties.”
Several residents spoke for and against the ordinance during the meeting. Some expressed concern about how police will disperse the camps while others applauded City Council for working to mitigate homelessness in Aurora.
Councilmember Juan Marcano, Ward IV, said Denver provides an example for how urban camping bans don’t produce the results that City Council is intending.
“This will not get people off the streets,” Marcano said. “It will not do what it is being billed to do. We are going to be even more frustrated after spending more resources to move people around the city without anything to show for it.”
According to the latest data from the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI), there are more than 12,000 people who experienced unsheltered homelessness in the Denver metro area last year, which represents a significant increase from the previous year.
More than 520 people stayed in Arapahoe County’s homeless shelters last year as well, the data shows. Over 30% of that total were youths aged 17 and under, according to MDHI’s point in time count, a survey conducted on one night in January.
Coffman pushed for a similar ordinance last summer, but the proposal was defeated.
This article was originally posted on Aurora City Council gives final approval to urban camping ban