Thursday, July 17, 2008


You think those delegates to the Democratic Convention in Denver want to run into homeless people while they're in town?

You think the city even wants anyone to know there are homeless people in the mile high city?

In what some from the "Homeless Services Industry" call an educational campaign, homeless people in Denver will be getting movie tickets and the like during the convention days.


Well, these folks say they're just demonstrating to the homeless what entertainment forums are available in the Denver area?

Oh, sure.

They'll also get tickets to the zoo. Happy days are here again.

But that's not all.

Denver's homeless also will be given access to lovely shelters normally designed to house them only during the winter. And some of these shelters will have big-screen TVs which are being donated so the "patrons" can watch the convention and stay informed about the issues being discussed.

Oh, and one of the city's ministries will run bingo games at night.

Call me cynical but I'm wondering after the convention and the cameras are all gone who is going to be providing free rides, big screen TVS, bingo cards and tickets to the movies for the homeless.

But I digress.

The high minded folks who "help" the homeless also say they don't want them getting caught up in protests.

I bet they don't!

"It just sounds like another way to get rid of them," Kayne Coy, 17, who volunteers feeding the homeless twice a week, told the Denver Post.

This plan for the homeless is being developed by Denver Department of Human Services, Denver Police Department and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

Conservatives are making this a big issue. This is no doubt because of their great compassion for homeless people. Hell, they'll give em tickets out of town anytime.

One conservative blogger, some Colorado yoyo named Perry Peterson summed up the conservative thought process rather well. On his
blog he commented on this "ticket" campaign:

"A more sure way to get them off the streets is to give them beer money and send them to LoDo (Lower Downtown) bars. How long would a wino agree to stay at the Zoo or Museum of Nature and Science?"

The homeless population in Denver is estimated at 5000.

Because the Oread Daily is fair and balanced I'll give you the best argument put forth by those who have come up with the "educational" idea.

Some homeless advocates wrote a commentary in the Denver Post on the controversy. Deborah Dilley, John Parvensky and Jamie Van Leeuwen wrote:

"Despite the new housing and services brought online and widespread media coverage, as the Democratic National Convention gears up each of us has been asked where we are going to hide our homeless during the convention. The short answer: We don't hide the homeless — ever. We as a community are working hard to help the more than 3,900 men, women and children obtain affordable housing and services to ensure that nobody has to live on the streets."

We are excited about the DNC and the opportunity to further educate our community and the nation about the plight of the homeless. Denver's Road Home was here two years before anyone was talking about the DNC and will be here long after it is gone."

We are inviting homeless people to participate in the political process. In the days leading up to and during the convention, you will find the Denver Rescue Mission and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, along with the Clergy Council, hosting voter-registration opportunities. The Salvation Army hosted a Fourth of July picnic for the homeless, where they learned about the convention. Outreach workers and police officers are teaming up to connect with the homeless and staff of service providers throughout the community to educate them on what to expect."

In case you think Denver isn't friendly to the homeless, you should know panhandling is legal. Of course, there are almost a dozen restrictions, including asking for money too close to a restaurant or a bar, a bus stop, or an automated teller machine.

Randle Loeb, who was homeless on Denver's streets for six years had a novel idea. Denver will have all the movers and shakers in the country talking about everything from global warming to health care to preschool, he says — so why not make a platform for homelessness? Why not get some of the people in their darkest days, those right out of jail or foster care, in on the discussion?

"We have a new generation of homeless people. . . . What are we going to do to put this front and center?" Loeb asked.

Jamie Van Leeuwen, director of Denver's Road Home — the city's homeless initiative says he is working to get an audience at the convention, but it's "been tricky," he said, "trying to confirm the logistics."

You don't say.

The following is from the Denver Channel.

Free Movie Tickets A Plan To Hide Homeless During DNC?

When thousands of delegates converge in the Mile City in August, downtown Denver won't look exactly like it does now.

Free movie tickets and passes to Denver's cultural attractions will be given out to homeless people just in time for the Democratic National Convention.

Several groups that help the homeless announced Wednesday that they are making changes during the DNC. But the plan is seen, by some, as a plan to hide the city's homeless, estimated to be roughly 3,800 the summertime.

A DNC advisory committee devoted just to handling the homeless issue has been working on a plan for the past four months with the help of Denver police, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, the Denver Rescue Mission and other shelters.

The homeless will be offered free movie passes, tickets to the Denver Zoo, museums, and other cultural facilities. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless will also hand out free bus tickets so the homeless can attend events that aren't nearby.

Some shelters will open their doors during the daytime and have more cots available at night. A spokeswoman for the Denver Rescue Mission said the shelter will almost double its overnight capacity. Some shelters will also have big-screen TVs so the homeless can watch convention activities without being out on the busy streets, caught up in the chaos.

Organizers say it's not an attempt to sweep away the homeless but it's more of an effort to educate them.

"There are no plans to relocate the homeless, to keep them out of the downtown area. If anything, we're trying to educate the homeless population on what is available, what entertainment they can go to, you know, how they can be involved as well," said Denver Rescue Mission's Greta Walker.

The committee thinks this is a way to make sure the homeless aren't harassed by police or Secret Service and aren't unknowingly caught up in the activities and protests in the area. Extremely tight security is expected around the Pepsi Center, Invesco Field at Mile High and Civic Center Park, where thousands of protesters are expected.

"It's better than them doing a police sweep. What good is that going to do? It's going to clog the jails that are already clogged," said Cecil Miller, a homeless man. "I'd love to go to a movie. I'd take my wife if we could get somebody to watch our stuff."

The homeless have already been told that aggressive panhandling and asking for money near an ATM are illegal. During the week, a voter registration drive will target homeless shelters and low-cost or free health clinics.

The Democratic National Convention will be held in downtown Denver from Aug. 25 to Aug. 28.

No comments: