More than 9,000 signatures delivered for an initiative protecting basic rights of homeless



Ben Price, National Organizing Director

DENVER, CO:  On Monday, the Denver Right to Survive Initiative Committee submitted over 9,000 signatures to the Denver Elections Division to place a homeless Right to Survive measure on the May 2019 ballot.

More than 5,000 homeless people are estimated to live in Denver. These community members are subject to laws such as the city’s “Unauthorized Camping Ban,” making “any form of protection from the elements” illegal. Growing numbers of residents are working to protect basic human and civil rights of the homeless. Denver Homeless Out Loud requested the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assist in drafting a bill of rights for the city’s homeless population.

If adopted, the rights-based Ordinance will secure the right to rest and shelter oneself from the elements in a non-obstructive manner in outdoor public spaces, to share food in public places where it is not otherwise prohibited, to occupy their own legally parked vehicle, and to have a right and expectation of privacy and safety of or in one’s person and property.

Terese Howard of Denver Homeless Out Loud, stated, “There are growing efforts to criminalize homelessness across the U.S. We will not let that happen here. Our work in Denver, instead, is to protect homeless people. These are fundamental human rights.”

Ben Price, CELDF’s National Organizing Director, stated, “This is about the right of human beings to meet their most basic needs. It’s about decency and dignity. Today, government is moving to criminalize people in poverty while legalizing corporate takeover of public property. The people of Denver are refusing to go along with it, envisioning a city that embraces all of its community members.” 

Colorado Communities Part of Growing Movement

Denver and other Colorado communities working with CELDF are part of the growing Community Rights movement across the United States. Hundreds of communities have advanced rights-based laws as part of community efforts to protect worker rights, establish living wages, stop fracking, factory farming, and other social and environmental harms.

Additional Information

For additional information regarding the Right to Survive initiative, contact CELDF at To learn about the Community Rights Movement, visit

About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, local economy, and quality of life. Its mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.


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