DENVER (CBS4) – Exhausted from dealing with a homeless camp next to his Capitol Hill home last summer, Brendan McCormick says he and his wife put their Denver townhouse on the market last August for sale. They found potential buyers frightened by homeless camps in his neighborhood.
McCormick said after half a dozen screenings that buyers generally liked his house but were “concerned about the homelessness in the city,” he said. “We were told right away that you had a lovely home, but we’re worried about what’s going on in the city of Denver right now.”
McCormick said he took his house off the market and decided to stay. Like many other homeowners in central Denver, he is tired of navigating his neighborhood homeless camps and has lost patience and compassion. Although he says some politicians have listened to his complaints, not much has changed.
“I’m afraid we’re at the point where we may see vigilante justice and that’s not where anyone wants to see this city.”
The topic concerns politicians and city administrations. As of June, Denver’s 311 line logged an average of 116 calls or emails per day through homeless camps. Spokeswoman Jenny Schiavone told CBS4 that since the beginning of the year the 311 center had received 7,305 complaints or inquiries about homelessness and camps.
“Warehouse inquiries are generally not one of our top five call drivers,” she said.
Schiavone said questions about solid waste are consistently the number one reason for inquiries, followed by questions about DMV.
For District 10 Councilor Chris Hinds, this is a different story as he said complaints and concerns about homeless camps are “the main problem we get in my office. The people are tired of the lingering camps in our city and District 10. There is a feeling of helplessness, ”said Hinds.
He said his constituents were impatient and felt that little was being done.
“The current approach doesn’t work,” he noted. “We tell them to move on and they move one block. It’s like a mole. “
He said he felt that he and other council members responded as quickly as possible and the mayor’s office is doing what it can. He said the problem has been developing for decades and will not be resolved quickly.
Across Capitol Hill, property owners have put up snow fences and other easements barriers in front of their homes to prevent homeless people from pitching tents.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Jerry Sochor as he pounded stakes in the ground Wednesday morning to seal off a strip of land in front of an apartment building on Capitol Hill.
He said what he was doing was “the only option we have as homeowners”.
Sochor said dozens of homeless people pitched tents in front of the apartment building on 12th and Downing for 37 days and destroyed sprinklers and grass before moving on.
“It’s not humane for the homeless, but not fair for residents and homeowners. But with the upcoming (MLB) All-Star Game, I think we’ll see more of it pushing into residential areas with no solution, ”he said.
Another warehouse recently opened at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Grant Street. There a CBS4 crew found Misty Leopard, 43, who said she has been homeless for five years and lives in these camps.
“They tell you to get a job, but try to get a job without a place to shower or without an address to give to an employer.”
She said it was virtually impossible to save enough for an apartment and said she had about $ 1.50 in her name.
“It’s hard. It’s really hard,” she remarked. “We’re human.” She said she would just like to live in a safe place.
She said that while some property owners are rude, others are understanding.
“Most of them know that they are only a paycheck away from being my neighbor. All it takes is a paycheck. “
“My concern is that we’re at a boiling point,” said McCormick.
On Wednesday before, Mayor Michael Hancock had announced more permanent housing as a solution to the homeless problem.