Community leaders and Denver DSA members took over the Colorado State Capitol complex Wednesday to demand immediate action from Gov. Jared Polis to prevent mass displacement in the coming weeks and months, as federal unemployment dries up and eviction moratoriums are set to expire.
“Without immediate action, hundreds of thousands of renters are going to get swept away by a tsunami of evictions across our state, adding a housing crisis on top of our ongoing public health crisis and civil unrest,” said Aurora Councilmember Juan Marcano. “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. This can be prevented with bold leadership by our governor—but only if he has the will to do it.”
Denver DSA hosted a meal service in the afternoon with Denver Homeless Out Loud, Colorado Jobs With Justice and the Colorado Poor People’s Campaign. The groups set up dozens of tents across the Capitol lawn to symbolize the 400,000 Coloradans who are imminently vulnerable to eviction in the absence of any meaningful steps to keep communities housed.
Attendees included dozens of laid off restaurant workers who donated food, labor and supplies:
“So many of us have already lost so much,” said Denver DSA labor organizer Mariah Wood, who was laid off because of COVID-19. “I had to vacate my apartment back in May because I hadn’t received my unemployment for close to two months, and had no hope of catching up on the rent I owed. I had no idea when the eviction moratorium would expire, and kept getting notices from my landlord. I was desperate, and had to throw out everything that wouldn’t fit in the back seat of my car. Hundreds of thousands of people have been laid off due to the virus, and the state is being forced to close businesses again due to its resurgence. More and more people are going to be forced to make the same decision I did.”
We categorically reject any city budget that continues to entertain massive vanity projects while simultaneously turning a blind eye to its unhoused residents. As unemployment and homelessness continue to spike, we will continue fighting to cancel rent and evictions. Solidarity, reinvestment, and a people-centered approach to the pressing needs of our communities are the way forward, toward true housing security for all.
“As unprecedented amounts of federal dollars flow toward relief from this global pandemic, our Governor and Mayor have failed to meaningfully address the now exponentially exacerbated housing crisis,” said Denver City Councilmember Candi CdeBaca. “In Denver, we know only a fraction of people in need are receiving support. Over 100,000 Denver residents face months of unpaid rent, looming evictions, and nightly protests. Unrest is rising. The city cannot rest, elected officials cannot rest, until the people are also able to rest comfortably in their beds. We need an immediate cancellation of rents and mortgages now.”
CONTACT: Kaley LaQuea, Communications Chair