Aurora is on track to ban urban camping, joining Denver

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A homeless encampment on 17th Avenue next to City Park in Denver, Monday, Dec. 1, 2020.

Aurora City Council is on track to ban urban camping on private and public property, months after initial attempts fell short. 

Under a proposed ordinance, homeless encampments will be effectively banned within city limits. The ban can only be enforced if occupants are given a 72-hour notice, and there must be enough space in a local homeless shelter to accommodate them. If those conditions aren’t met, officials will not be allowed to disperse the camp.

The Republican-majority council voted 6-5 along party lines to pass the ordinance during its first reading Monday, with Mayor Mike Coffman casting the tiebreaker vote. It must now pass a second reading at a future council meeting, which has not been scheduled. 

According to Colorado Politics, Councilmember Crystal Murillo asked to include language that would ensure important belongings aren’t thrown away during sweeps. Council will vote on amendments during that future session. 

If enacted, Aurora would join Denver in enacting a ban on urban camping, a move advocates have denounced as cruel and dehumanizing. Denver has had its ban in place since 2012, but it requires officials to give 7 days notice before a sweep can proceed. The measure has since been challenged by judges and voters.

Hoffman tried to enact an identical ban last year, which failed. However, Republicans won a majority on Aurora City Council in the November election, giving Hoffman the support he needed to pass his ordinance.