Re: Denver's Expanding City-Run Campsites

Tim McCormick

thanks Elise. This is the work of and run by Colorado Village Collaborative, led by Cole Chandler, longtime active members & friends of Village Collaborative network (, whom I visited in Denver a few years back.

The mainstream media segment has some good visuals, and does respectfully give time to a homeless resident at one of the sites, but unshockingly mis-expresses or misframes various things, from my standpoint. It isn't City or 'Denver' run, it happened out of many years of devoted activism, sometimes quite oppositional, pushing against vacillating and often unreceptive/hostile City practices.

NBC represent the sites as strictly not a 'home', but as an in-between point from which to look for a home. This, of course, is not necessarily, in fact often not, how houseless people and activists speak of it.

Finally, while in this they are generally following CVC's messaging, I generally question NBC's typical -- you might say, compulsively anxious -- framing of this and all they group with it as just tents, non-homes, non-housing; strictly separated from that implied but undefined realm of real housing. Mostly, that imagined 'real' mainstream housing isn't there, and isn't going to be there, for the people residing at CVC's safe spaces. From my perspective, there rarely is, in the US and most countries, any plausible plan in motion, hardly even being imagined, for creation of the needed housing on the scale and of types needed - certainly not in Denver, as far as I've seen. 

Denver reported year-over-year home price appreciation of *26.13 percent* in May. As in many parts of the US, housing cost escalation is practically out of control, far outpacing and overwhelming even the relatively huge recent Fed/state funding flows which might help, were they well used. Mass displacement is accelerating, from overlapping, entwined disasters of Covid, inequality/asset-boom, climate disruption, mass heatwave and wildfires, etc. 

In most places I see leaders mainly, same as it ever was, holding on steady to their positions and practices and conventional notions, thanking their stars to be at least further up the ladder, above the flood, and ahead of the fires, than the unwashed masses being hit by the brunt of disruption and the leaders' & landed's general failure to act or adapt on the level needed.

On Thu, Jul 8, 2021 at 11:11 AM Elise Aymer <elise@...> wrote:
I am sharing a news video on Denver's City-run campsites - that they've been deploying across their city and expanding since the pandemic, as it's likely to be referenced as a model in Portland and elsewhere.

This is a mainstream (NBC) news segment so it doesn't delve into what's happening in detail or fully examine ramifications. I also didn't find it properly presented the bigger picture either or ask the important "whys." In other words, a great deal of context and analysis are missing. 

So, in posting this, I'm expecting it to be useful in providing a brief view (literally) of what's happening there and a starting point for finding out more. Once something like this (in a western city) is being featured in the mainstream, national news, I expect it to assume more prominence in the discussion in Portland.


Elise Aymer
Co-founder, Critical Diversity Solutions
Pronouns: She/her

Tim McCormick
Moderator PDX Shelter Forum, Editor at HousingWiki,
Organizer at Village Collaborative
Portland, Oregon 

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