The Spread Of Anti-Homeless Ordinances Across Colorado

Graphic by Sarah Ford

  Cities in Colorado which have ordinances banning sitting or lying down in public, or banning public urban camping. A 2016 study by the University of Denver found that Colorado’s 76 largest cities have 351 ordinances that can be classified as “anti-homeless” overall.

Cities in Colorado which have ordinances banning sitting or lying down in public, or banning public urban camping. A 2016 study by the University of Denver found that Colorado’s 76 largest cities have 351 ordinances that can be classified as “anti-homeless” overall.

This year, Durango became the latest city to add an ordinance banning sitting or lying on public sidewalks. Meanwhile, in Colorado Springs, it became illegal to sleep within 100 feet of waterways, a move the cities claimed was necessary because of increasing e.coli levels in the water. 

Ordinances considered to be “anti homeless” are those which ban camping in the public, sitting or lying on public sidewalks, storing belongings in public, sleeping in a car, or panhandling. The spread of these ordinances has grown quickly throughout Colorado. 

In 2016, the University of Denver published a report titled “How Much Does It Cost To Criminalize Homelessness.” In it, they broke down anti-homelessness ordinances — also including those which restrict access to parts of the city and loitering — by looking at Colorado’s 76 largest cities. 

Here, the VOICE has compiled a list of all Colorado’s cities which have an ordinance banning sitting or lying in public places and cities which have put a ban on public camping city-wide. This list includes those listed through the DU report, and cities which have added ordinances since then. ■