Boulder homeless protest ban on sleeping in parks
BOULDER, Colo. – Homeless people in Boulder are sleeping in plain sight to protest a city ban on sleeping in parks.
About 20 homeless people and some homeless advocates stayed through the weekend on a lawn next to the Boulder Municipal Building to decry a camping ban. They say the city ordinance makes it a crime to be homeless.
“The goal of the sleep-in is to raise awareness among people who think we just go away in the summer,” homeless protester Michael Fitzgerald told the Camera newspaper. “The shelters close, but we’re still here.”
Camping is defined as sleeping outside with shelter, even just a sleeping bag, between sunrise and sunset. Violators can be fined $100 or sentenced to community service.
Activists want the city to create a legal space for people to sleep when winter shelters close. One advocate, Jim Budd, says the ban simply drive homeless people to hide in dangerous places.
“When there is a perpetrator who wants to target a homeless person, and the homeless person has to hide themselves away in the most secluded spot, they’re doing half the work of the perpetrator right there,” said Budd, executive director of the overflow shelter and a formerly homeless person. “It opens the door for evil and wrongdoing.”
Turnout was light at the sleep-in protest, though. Organizers had hoped for as many as 100 participants. Roughly 40 people, half of them homeless, showed up for a potluck Saturday evening, but only a dozen stayed to sleep.
There was no immediate word on protesters getting arrested or ticketed.
Information from: Daily Camera, http://www.dailycamera.com