-Press Release 10.26.2015: An Open Letter to Denver Housing Authority

For Immediate Release: A Public Letter To The Denver Housing Authority
Per Resurrection Village – A Self Governed Tiny Home Community
2500 Lawrence Street
Denver, CO 80205
Denver Homeless Out Loud PHONE:
720-940-5291
Contact: Marcus Hyde

Email: info@denverhomelessoutloud.org

Phone: 303-507 8065

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is meant to clarify some misinformation which has been broadcasted in the media, and an invitation to dialogue with us concerning Resurrection Village. We hope to find a way forward together.

First, let us be clear, no member of Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) physically or verbally threatened any member of DHA. Passionate remarks where offered by numerous people both within our organization and without at Resurrection Village on Saturday October 24th. What is to be expected when dozens upon dozens of police cars, vans, swat teams and helicopters come to raid and arrest a community of unhoused people? We cannot account for all actions taken by all people, but as far as our members are concerned no one made any physical or verbal threats towards any DHA personnel.
Secondly, let us again be clear, contrary to news reports, neither the Denver Housing Authority nor the Denver Police Department have returned the homes that were stolen from us. They were taken from us without any opportunity for us to take them if we wanted to. We have video footage of the clean up crew hired by the Denver Police Department destroying and dismantling multiple homes which houseless people and their friends had constructed. We are very saddened by this, and would love to be reimburst for the damaged and ruined building materials and homes. Furthermore, we also know that two of the structures where taken by the crew mostly in tact on trailers, thanks to our video footage. Here is a link to that footage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVG_5iWAM50 . We assume that these houses might have been damaged due to rough treatment/loading, but we would still like them back.
One of these structures, was built on site as a prototype of a replicable tiny home which could be built using prefabricated panels in a matter of hours with minimal effort and less than $2500 in building supplies.
The other, ‘The Mesa House’, was built in partnership between Denver Homeless Out Loud and a group of amazing middle school students who wanted to build something nice for people living out on the streets. It would break our hearts to hear of any damage to that home.
Again, we have not received any of our houses back. We welcome the safe return of all our buildings and material as soon as possible. Please drop them off at the following address:

Resurrection Village
2500 Lawrence Street
Denver, CO 80205

Anywhere along the east end of the property would be fine. There are still farmers who are being forced to move some plants and equipment out on the west side of the property, and we don’t need to disrupt that process. And, eventually we’d like to utilize that land for food production again. 
Furthermore, we ask that the village be opened back to the public who has paid for that property through federal and local tax dollars, and to whom the property rightfully belongs.

On a separate note, we’d like to continue the conversation about the spending of public money. We understand that the Denver Housing Authority is just one of the many players within our local government who decide where and how money is spent, but we feel you play a crucial role, and we’d like to highlight some economic realities to you. Over the last few days, thousands of dollars have been spent on large masses of police personnel and vehicles and equipment. We couldn’t even begin to imagine how much was spent on a police helicopter or the dozens of police cruisers or swat team vehicles or how much was spent on the clean up crew used to destroy and take our homes. What we do know is that 10 people have been arrested, and according to vera.org, the best estimate for holding one person in jail for a night in Colorado is 83 US Dollars, so if that is a fair estimate for how much was just spent on detention costs alone, then $830 for the night our friends spent in jail. Our own expense for bailing them out and paying fees associated with incarceration was $1500. We point this out to you because the bail money alone is more than twice the cost of one of our smaller structures, the Conestoga Hut.

This follows a pattern which is all too common; we spend more money criminalizing homelessness than we would if we simply housed the same unhoused folks, even through traditional means (multi-family developments owned and operated by a public entity such as DHA and subsidized to match the tenants income levels) rather than tiny homes (which are even cheaper). We feel that all of the money spent on harassing and arresting houseless people within the last few days, and all of the subsequent costs could have been more wisely used to finish building Resurrection Village or other affordable housing. Permanent housing is surely the most effective way of eradicating mass homelessness, and we know that the Denver Housing Authority owns many underutilized parcels of land which could be made into tiny home communities at very little cost, or other much needed affordable housing.
We invite you to contact us as soon as possible as to arrange a time to dialogue about next steps. We’d like to find a solution that makes fiscal and moral sense. Again, we’d like our homes back as soon as possible, in order house people currently facing homelessness. Until then, they will have nowhere else to go, so you’ll probably see a lot of us out on the street.

Sincerely,
The Resurrection Village People
Of Denver Homeless Out Loud

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