Comment of the Day

Reader: Some in Denver Would Rather Live in Filth and Beg for a Handout

Our Chris Walker recently reported that enforcement of Denver's camping ban has increased by nearly 500 percent this spring.

As Walker noted, few homeless people are being arrested. Instead, police are issuing them "move on" orders that force them to find new places to stay if they decline help.

The decision by some to reject offers of city services doesn't surprise the following reader, who feels that critics who complain about criminalizing homelessness are being too simplistic.

Here's what he has to say.

Kenny Higgins writes:
Most don't understand the reality surrounding homelessness, so when they see articles like this they jump to the image of a homeless family in need being swept off the streets with nowhere to go. Fortunately that's far from true. Denver has a multitude of resources available, and most that are truly in need are making use of those resources. Some people just don't want the help that's offered. It's an unfortunate reality, but some would actually rather live in filth and beg for a handout than contribute in any way. That's just their lifestyle and you would be surprised how many are content with that. Unfortunately for Denver, the legal weed emphasizes that issue. There are also those stuck in drug addiction who can't get off the streets. As bad as it may sound, moves like this give a lot of those people a way out of their stagnant state. It forces them into sobriety in jail and enables them to gain access to programs set in place to help. It's not a foolproof solution, many choose to avoid the opportunity. But it does put a dent in the problem, and is not by any means the "only option."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts