Why Boulder's Homeless---and Their Advocates---Are Protesting

January 20 2010, 9:34 AM

Last year, Boulder police issued about 15 percent more tickets in violation of the city's camping law, which forbids people from sleeping overnight in places like public parks. The law, which carries a $100 fine and possible time in jail if not paid, has impacted the city's homeless disproportionately. Police are not "cracking down" on the homeless, a city spokeswoman tells 7News. But advocates joined in a protest with the homeless yesterday to let the city know that people who don't have roofs over their heads feel targeted, especially since many are left owing fines they have no way to pay, making it harder to get back on their feet (via 9News). A city survey finds that more than 560 homeless live in Boulder, and advocates say shelters provide beds for fewer than half of them. The protest seems to have convinced the city to look for alternatives. On Tuesday, the city council directed its city manager to craft an emergency ordinance within weeks that would put a temporary halt to ticketing homeless people sleeping in parks, under bridges, and in other public places, writes the Daily Camera. Councilman Macon Cowles suggests the city should consider a moratorium on the no-camping law and perhaps also a law that makes it a crime to sleep inside a vehicle. "Rich people, they never feel the sting" of some laws, he says.