Initiated Ordinance 300 and The Plight of the Proletariat
Initiated Ordinance 300 is a proposed Colorado law that would allow homeless people to rest, shelter themselves, eat and exchange food, and “occupy one’s own legally parked vehicle or a legally parked vehicle with permission of the owner.”
300 has faced a large amount of pushback, primarily from the rich, including the Mayor of Denver. “This answer, this solution is not the right solution for Denver or any urban space for our homeless.” Mayor Michael Hancock said.
Supporters of the policy say that our current methods simply don’t work, and that something needs to change if we’re going to solve the homeless problem in Denver. “We are facing reality and the reality is that people are homeless and are living on our streets and criminalization does not work,” said Terese Howard, a spokeswoman for the pro-Initiative 300 group Denver Homeless Out Loud. “It does not help people. It does not get people into housing. It makes life worse and harder. It’s cruel and unusual. And it’s immoral. It needs to stop.”
Initiated Ordinance 300 is only the first step in a longer process. The Ordnance doesn’t fix the homeless epidemic, but it does however bring awareness to it. The proposed ordinance would allow homeless people to camp in parks. This would increase awareness, since people would actually see the amount of homeless people in their everyday lives. Because of this, more people who are usually unlikely to give money to any homeless organization will practice charity in order to get the homeless out of their neighborhoods. Although this is rooted in selfishness, it contributes to an overall important cause.
Students at George seem to be divided on the issue. One student, Roman, is against the ordinance. He says 300 would “create an unpleasant environment for the homeowners in neighborhoods near the parks the homeless would be camping in.” This is a widely held opinion throughout George, and it was moderately difficult to find someone who thought the ordinance was a good idea. “I have no idea why you’d vote no on 300,” states Erin Harwood. “I literally can’t see a downside to legalizing homeless camping in federally owned spaces.”
Based on the current amount of support for 300, the Ordinance doesn’t look like its gonna pass. The vote occurs in May of 2019.
The failure of the vote could have large ramifications for GW’s homeless students, but many Denver residents don’t seem to be concerned about the fates of the homeless, and are instead more concerned with their property value. Because of this, it seems unlikely that any kind of major change for the homeless will be coming until the crisis reaches critical mass.