Denver reverses decision to pay for homeless sweeps out of fund that contains donations
Denver Human Services planned to cover more than $76,000 in costs rung up as city workers cleared downtown sidewalks of homeless camps this year by tapping a fund that receives some donations for the homeless.
The city agency has reversed course, a spokeswoman confirmed to The Denver Post. Aware of the bad optics of the original decision, officials have decided instead to tap into the city’s public works budget to cover the homeless sweep’s costs.
DHS’s Julie Smith said about 97 percent of annual revenue for the DHS fund — called the Homeless Donation Fund — actually comes from federal reimbursements, rather than the coins that people deposit in fake parking meters at the airport and downtown.
But a local news outlet recently asked questions about its use to cover costs for the sweeps of encampments, and Smith said that prompted the decision to change course. The first inquiry came from KCNC-4’s Brian Maass, who on Twitter has promoted a story about “diverted homeless donations” that’s set to air Thursday.