Criminalizing Homelessness in Denver

“Across the nation and in Colorado, an increasing number of jurisdictions, cities, are passing laws banning survival activities of homeless people.”

no right to restSleeping in public, sitting in public, sharing food and being out in public are examples of laws that have been passed across the country that specifically criminalize homeless people says Tony Robinson, a political science professor at the University of Colorado, Denver. CU Denver along with a coalition of homelessness advocacy groups released a report on Tuesday April 7th looking at the criminalization of homelessness. 441 homeless people across the state were interviewed for a survey to see if they had been ever cited, arrested or cautioned by the police under these laws. Robinson says the No Right to Rest: Criminalizing Homelessness in Colorado report shows that 90% of homeless people have been contacted by the police under these laws. 60% have been ticked and 30% have been arrested.


Brian, a homeless teen in Denver says he has been harassed by police in the city. “It seems like it’s never ending almost. It seems like it’s one extreme to the next when they come harassing people.” Brian says he’s been removed from public spaces and is treated different by the police because he is homeless.