The city of Boulder has until the end of this week to respond to a district county judge’s decision to move forward with a complaint filed by the ACLU in May. The ACLU lawsuit alleges that the city’s camping ban violates people’s civil rights by ticketing them for sleeping outside with a blanket when they have nowhere else to go.
In recent years, Boulder has slashed funding for shelters and allocated millions to enforce what they refer to as the city’s “camping ban.” Since last summer, the lawsuit alleges, the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless has turned away more than 250 people, with 2/3 of them turned away on nights with freezing temperatures. The complaint alleges that Boulder enforces the challenged ordinances against unhoused residents even when dangerous weather poses an elevated risk of heat-related illnesses, hypothermia, frostbite, and even death.
After two motions to dismiss, the district court agreed that the ACLU has enough evidence to proceed with the case. If the ACLU wins, the ruling will set legal precedent for cities across the state.
KGNU’s Alexis Kenyon spoke with ACLU attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow, Annie Kurtz about the case.