As Denver, Colo., prepares to host the 2021 All-Star Game, the city is getting criticism for its efforts to clear the homeless population from areas around Coors Field.
Mayor Michael Hancock has emphatically denied that the All-Star Game has influenced any clearing decisions. Hancock insists the clearing of homeless encampments in Denver is solely a result of getting caught up in the wake of the pandemic.
The Associated Press notes that homeless “sweeps” increased in Denver immediately following the decision to switch the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.
The sweeps continued to increase in May and June, with 17 scheduled cleanups taking 22 days, 11 days each month with two or three days of cleanups a week, according to public records obtained by The Associated Press.
Evan Dreyer, Hancock’s deputy chief of staff, said the city used to conduct two to three cleanups a week before the pandemic began and has returned to that pace.
Ana Cornelius, an organizer for Denver Homeless Out Loud, says the city is being disingenuous and has targeted its cleanups to push homeless people out before the All-Star Game. While the city used to clean up one encampment at a time, it has turned to multiday operations — targeting four or five encampments in a bigger area, dramatically increasing the number of people pushed out, she said.
Coors Field is set to host the All-Star Game on Tuesday.