Denver city officials, including police, on Wednesday morning cleared out a homeless encampment outside Morey Middle School.
The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment posted a temporary area restriction, meaning “environmental conditions are hazardous,” Tammy Vigil, a department spokeswoman, said. The area will be temporarily closed so city workers can clean up, she said. The middle school is on East 14th Avenue in the Cap Hill neighborhood.
People experiencing homelessness who live in the camp and advocates who support them knew a sweep was imminent after authorities cleared out a large tent city a week ago in Lincoln Park, just outside the state Capitol. On Monday, advocates went to the camp to help people pack their belongings and find new places to live, but a few people remained on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, Denver police, parks officials and others arrived early to enforce the public health order. The city sent outreach workers and provided transportation to shelters, Vigil said.
But the city’s shelters are crowded and many people experiencing homelessness say they are afraid they might catch COVID-19 inside them. The city has pledged to open city sanctioned campsites but those are not ready for use. The people who lived in the encampments and their advocates say most will scatter to other locations throughout the city.