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Supreme Court could affect how cities like Denver deal with the unhoused: "They don't even treat us like we're human"

Supreme Court could affect how cities like Denver deal with the unhoused
Supreme Court could affect how cities like Denver deal with the unhoused 02:16

For Tina and hundreds of others, living in unauthorized camps around Denver is a harrowing ordeal.

"It's been like a survival out there," Tina said. "The drug use around there and some of them are not coherent. I've been raped out there."

She says it doesn't make it any easier when the City of Denver comes and sweeps the camp she's living in like they did last Tuesday.

Homelessness Encampment Sweeps
Police tell homeless people they need to leave the area during a sweep of an encampment in downtown Denver on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Thomas Peipert / AP

"They don't even treat us like we're human," said Tina.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has been trying to find housing for the unhoused, but that's easier said than done. Tina says she's been trying to find housing for 20 years but all the hoops she has had to jump through make it difficult.

"It leaves a lot of us destitute and not able to get in anywhere," said Tina.

Monday the United States Supreme Court is hearing a case that could determine the legality of camp sweeps in the future.

Denver Homeless Sweep
A man sits with his belongings at the corner of Park Avenue and Broadway as a city-sanctioned homeless sweep is carried out nearby at the corner of 22nd and Champa on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, north of downtown Denver. David Zalubowski / AP

"It's basically the Eighth Amendment; it's cruel and unusual punishment," said Ana-Lilith Miller an advocate for the houseless from the Housekeys Action Network Denver. "It's been said to be unconstitutional already by lower appeals courts."

They say they hope the Supreme Court gives people like Tina some respite.

Ana-Lilith Miller CBS

"You're just sweeping people from block to block," said Miller. "It doesn't help."

Tina's makeshift home was dismantled and thrown away Tuesday during the sweep. She says while the Supreme Court debates the issue, she'll have to find shelter all over again.

"I just try to deal with it daily and breathe," Tina said with tears in her eyes.

At 2 p.m. on Monday, Housekeys Action Network will be rallying at the State Capitol, listening to the Supreme Court case and marching to City Hall. It will be one of at least 13 other rallies in other major cities around the country.

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