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Denver Sweeps Large Homeless Camp As Sanctioned Homeless Site Prepares To Open

DENVER (CBS4) - The tent-filled homeless encampment at 29th and Arkins Court was huge, filthy and the scene of a recent murder. Crews from the city of Denver moved in Monday to begin cleaning it out.

The operation began before dawn after at least a week's notice police gave those present a warning.

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"If you don't, you are going to be obstructing government operations and you will be subject to arrest if you don't cooperate with us," an officer announced.

A police line was formed as one of the largest encampments Denver has seen was beginning to be cleared.

"Move back, move back move back," the officers shouted on video shot by Colorado Free Press.

A fence was put up which became a barrier between police and protesting the operation.

Several people were placed under arrest. Monday afternoon, a Denver Police spokesman said four people were in custody for failure to obey a lawful order.

From the air, the scope of the encampment and the operation to clean it up could be seen. It is right by the Salvation Army's Crossroads Shelter just north of downtown.

Major Richard Peas speaking from the shelter gave his thoughts on why this had become such a large site for tents.

"I think they have easier access to some of the services that we offer also it's a part of town that's a ways from the crowd," he said.

Of the 90 or so people still believed living among the 150 tents before Monday only about 20-30 can be taken into the Salvation Army shelter due to space.

Matt McAdams helps run the shelter for the Salvation Army.

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"We're trying to get everyone safe and the resources to get out of the situation that they are in," he said.

Many of those living in tents decline assistance of room in shelters, but that is far easier said than done.

Britta Fisher is the Executive Director of Denver's Department of Housing Stability. She says their goal is to get people into proper housing.

"We know how to do that but we are still working to get enough resources," she said.

And so, for those displaced, the time to move has come once again. Privately operated tent sites with facilities by the Interfaith Alliance are due to open soon, but they will only hold about 70 people.

A step forward for some, but a small drop in the Denver area's population of those experiencing homelessness.

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