Many cities struggle with the issue of homelessness. Denver is no exception. In an effort to move individuals camping on public real estate to shelters, the Colorado town passed a bylaw banning camping on public property. The law, which has been called into question for its constitutionality, has recently been ruled as constitutional by a Denver District Court judge.
This law has been enforced steadily since being passed, with the exception of a brief period when a county-court judge ruled it unconstitutional. Enforcement continued while the case was under appeal, and it will continue now that the decision has been reversed. While the ruling may not increase enforcement of the law, it may help to determine the future of legislation related to this topic.
While the case may still be brought to the Colorado Supreme Court, city officials say the legislation's intent was well understood by the judge. They say the law takes a "humane and compassionate approach," connecting those who are camping in violation of the law with resources and shelter. The individual who has taken legal action against the law says that he was cited when he refused to move to a shelter. His attorney argued that this was criminalizing homelessness.
A variety of Colorado-based business groups and owners supported the camping ban, arguing that individuals had blocked their doorways and made it difficult for them to operate. Those who own commercial real estate in Colorado should be aware of the state laws and bylaws in place to govern and/or protect their businesses. Business owners who feel their rights or property have been violated, be it by the city or a third party, should reach out to a Colorado business lawyer to discuss their concern.