Denver Police arrested 10 people and destroyed “tiny homes” the activists built for the homeless on Saturday.
“Denver Homeless Out Loud”, a homeless advocacy group, were in the process of assembling a tiny home village dubbed “Tiny Denver” on a plot of land owned by the City, when police arrived, arrested everyone and destroyed the tiny homes.
“Today hundreds of people came out to Sustainability Park in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Denver to build a tiny home village where three urban farms are being displaced to build an apartment development,” the activists said.
Little Denver is a project being built by, with, and for people without housing in Denver, CO. We seek to create affordable, sustainable alternatives to the current housing system. Tiny homes, residential structures between 100 and 200 square feet in size, is what we propose. We seek to build these homes and place them wherever makes sense. Our vision is to create a community of micro-houses grouped together in a Tiny Home Village.
A Tiny Home Village is a congregation of tiny homes with a centralized kitchen, facilities, and common space. They provide permanent or temporary housing for people who were previously unhoused. Cities around the country are already creating tiny home villages, and more are springing up. Most of these villages were created by the residents themselves, and continue to be democratically run by those living in the village. In short, the village model is not only about housing but about mutual aid, participation, respect, and collaboration. We aim to raise our quality of life and contribute to our city in a meaningful way. We are working to create this kind of participatory community village of homes here in Denver.
We are in a housing crisis. Denver rent is at a record high and keeps getting higher. Continued cutbacks for affordable housing construction and maintenance, combined with the rising cost of housing in Denver, has made housing more scarce and competitive than ever. Today in Denver there are at least 6130¹ people who live on the streets. We have to exist somewhere, and because there are no suitable options to access affordable housing if you work a low-wage job, or are unable to work, we have to create options for ourselves and defend our right to exist in public space. A Tiny Home Village is a cheap, ecologically conscious, communal, tangible and dignified alternative to being criminalized for surviving in public spaces, or trying to hustle a spot in the overcrowded shelter system.
“Denver Public Works destroyed, threw into dump trucks, and carted away the homes that had been so badly needed by houseless people and so lovingly constructed by those who would have lived there and their supporters,” the activists said.
Saturday, Oct 24th, about seventy Denver Police Department and Denver Sheriff’s Department officers, including SWAT units, under orders from Mayor Michael Hancock, descended on Sustainability Park and arrested 10 community members who, along with many others, were in the process of setting up a tiny home village to be occupied and managed by houseless people. The arrests, on charges of trespassing, were followed by the destruction and removal of several tiny homes which the group had constructed for houseless community members to live in. The group, led by Denver Homeless Out Loud and composed of houseless people and supporters, had been constructing tiny homes and trying to find a location for the village for over a year. But due to zoning and code constraints they have not been able to find a legal place to put the houses.