Jeff Baker, CPN President
So much is going on in our neighborhood! With the election coming up in the next few weeks I sincerely ask everyone to vote! Aside from the city office seats, there is one initiative on the ballot that will have a catastrophic effect on Curtis Park and all of Denver.
If you are not familiar with Initiative 300, I encourage you to dig in deeper than the surface to learn, and then think about how you should vote. Initiative 300 is not the solution for the homeless crisis we are in the middle of.
People need a place to call home, to feel safe, and to rest. Our current system has totally failed our most vulnerable population. The system is totally broken. While we are grateful for the efforts of the current shelter system, it is not working. We can no longer expect these providers to bear all the burden of the rapidly increasing population on our streets.
This is a very difficult discussion to have and you may not agree with me, but we must not hide and ignore it anymore. Having these discussions is the only way forward!
The Curtis Park Homelessness Solutions Committee has been working overtime in the last 30+ days, and as representatives of you, our neighbors, I assure you we are doing everything within our power. With the influx of camps moving into our neighborhood, it has been a daily task for us to be interacting with the police and outreach teams, city council, the Mayors office and the members of these homeless camps. Many of the members of these camps do not believe Initiative 300 is the answer either.
This is not about us complaining about “Not in my Backyard”, this is about truly addressing and changing the entire system for this population. This is big picture. We all know that pushing people from one place to the next does nothing to solve this crisis. This is about coming up with new solutions and looking at this through a new set of glasses. A set of glasses that can see change at the end of the tunnel by creating a brand new system. Please get involved and be part of the solution!
I am happy to report that the Mayor’s office has proposed a new Department of Housing and Homelessness. We will be integral as a neighborhood in molding this department into changing the current system. Denver citizens voted in a new tax for mental health services and we need to see these dollars put to use for these people who are suffering on our streets.
Please be patient as this will not be solved overnight, but we must start with change now. As a neighborhood that has been sheltering and helping the homeless for decades we have to find a better way forward!
Please respect all of our partners in this effort, as each part of the team needs to work together. This team consists of citizens, police and service providers, our city council and the Mayor’s office. We need a strong diversified team to think outside of the box and try something different, something we have never tried before. We owe that to all citizens of Denver regardless of housing status.