Denver officials still can’t say how much homeless sweeps cost

The Denver Post: As Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration continues to break up illegal homeless encampments in Denver — against federal guidance during the pandemic — city officials still can’t say how much each sweep costs.

The lack of financial understanding comes despite more than a year’s worth of questions on the topic from elected officials, reporters, residents, people experiencing homelessness and their advocates. It also comes during a historic financial crisis during which Denver is expected to fall hundreds of millions of dollars short in tax revenue, city employees are subject to unpaid furloughs and residents face drastic service cuts.

Not only are city officials unable to even venture a guess as to how much the sweeps cost, they also have struggled to justify the efficacy of the tactics, which have been called into question by public health experts. While the operations are officially justified as the clearing of public rights of way or the protection of public health and safety, they’re essentially enforcements of the city’s controversial camping ban, which is currently under increased scrutiny in an ongoing lawsuit.

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