A good thing the powers-that-be learned when Morey Middle School was going to open up for teachers.
When city officials thought that Morey was going to open up on Aug. 17 for students, actually the teachers will be going in to the school building on July 20. As of today, the teachers will show up in less than two weeks, and pretty soon something is going to need to be done about the encampment surrounding Morey. Aside from finding the people who can be moved to a new place, it also will take time to clean the grounds.
Denver’s mayor has asked city council members to identify land that can be devoted to encampments, with sanitation and services. One might think that there is not very much time to get things going.
Thank goodness the Morey principal, Hillary Niebauer, had the facts.
It made sense to Zoom into the Town Hall event earlier this week concerning the encampment around Morey Middle School. The event was organized by City Council District 10 Chris Hinds, and the school is in his district. More than 250 people registered for the Zoom meeting, but I decided to watch it on Facebook.
Numerous city officials and leaders of agencies spoke up about homelessness and addiction. They included Bob McDonald, Executive Director at the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, and Chris Conner, who has led Denver’s Road Home and is now part of the city’s new department of housing and homelessness. Terese Howard from Homeless Out Loud and Lisa Raville of the Harm Reduction Center also were there to speak.
Some 300 questions had been submitted, but not all of them could be addressed in two hours. The main complaint from those commenting on Facebook – and later to reporters – there were not enough people to offer their comments on what it is like to live across a street or down the street from the encampment. Apparently, it’s not good, as you would assume.
The one person who had lived in an apartment building nearby spoke during the town hall meeting. But after a few months of encampments, she moved elsewhere. Interestingly, a person named Stella, who lives in the encampment around Morey, talked about how people in that situation wanted housing. Totally understand.
The links below include the Town Hall meeting on Facebook, stories on the Town Hall meeting on Channel 7 and Channel Fox 31, on Denverite, and a Channel 4 that reported a women had struggled to get away from a man as she tried to go home. He said he would rape her and murder her, but that did not happen. Her name was not released.
Homelessness encampment near a Denver middle school concerns staff preparing to start classes