Ever since 2016, there’s been controversy around clearing and cleaning homeless camps across Colorado. On one hand, municipalities have argued that large, makeshift camps can create unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, as in this article by Channel 2 News. But in a story for CBS, homeless advocates say that the sweeps violate the rights of the homeless without dealing with the housing crisis that's at the root of the problem.

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As we roll into the holiday season and the weather gets colder, officials hope that the sweeps will direct the homeless into shelters, which are supposed to have enough beds to take the influx. This is particularly true for Colorado Springs, where they’re planning to clear a 100-200 person encampment just south of downtown.

CBS Denver via YouTube

Thus far, there’s been no easy answers, but there have been a few success stories as a result of the sweeps. CBS News reported on one such story, detailing how DeeDee, a homeless woman who used to live on the sidewalk next to The Samaritan House in Denver, ended up going to a shelter as a result of the cleanings. She’s now getting three meals a day and is working on finding housing. Although it might be too early to correlate the sweeps to the amount of people getting help in shelters, Mike Sinnett of Shelters for Catholic Charities said that “If we can get people in the shelters… we’re here to support that.”

If you’d like to help the homeless in NoCo, here’s links to nearby shelters where you can donate or volunteer your time: