Can A Homeless Camp Govern Itself? Should It? La Plata County Is Giving It A Try

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Photo: Homeless Sleeping On The Streets In Denver
Sleeping on the streets of Denver.

Could tent cities be a way to address homelessness? They can be built faster and cheaper than a permanent shelter. But they're banned in a number of Colorado communities, and in cities like Denver, their residents are subject to periodic sweeps. But Durango is considering moving an encampment in La Plata County onto city property in an effort to create an official tent city. In the meantime, La Plata County Sheriff's Lt. Edward Aber has taught campers on the county site how to govern themselves. Camper Tom Bates, who has been homeless for about three years, and Aber tell Colorado Matters those camping on the La Plata County site are torn about being relocated, especially since the existing site is legal and no one's breaking the law by being there.