Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman announced Monday that he will be halting all work toward establishing a citywide camping ban to address homelessness in the city.
Coffman said on Twitter that he is suspending moving forward with the ban “until I better understand what its impact will be on Aurora.”
“I think the question that I have to answer is whether or not a camping ban actually aggravates the problem because there are so many requirements that a camping ban must meet in order to survive a court challenge,” he said.
Coffman has been talking with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul in recent weeks to create a plan to address homelessness in the Denver metro area.
Camping is banned in Denver; however, large encampments regularly form throughout the city. This has lead to frequent homeless sweeps in which camps are broken up, fenced off and residents are forced to move.
These sweeps have been especially controversial in recent months as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that cities stop sweeps during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid spreading the disease.
Denver’s continuation of the sweeps has prompted an ongoing lawsuit.
Denver City Council member Candi CdeBaca said each sweep costs the city of Denver around $10,000 to conduct.
“The City and County of Denver has a camping ban and it has a significant encampment problem while Aurora does not have a camping ban and only has a modest problem,” Coffman said.
Coffman told The Denver Gazette last week that Aurora was also not considering any kind of managed homeless campsites like Denver has recently established because Aurora does not have a need for them.
This comes after Coffman received intense backlash last week for posing as homeless in Aurora and Denver for seven days and then stating that those who stay in encampments are making a “lifestyle choice.”
City council members from Aurora, Denver and Englewood demanded that city leaders such as Coffman and Hancock take regional action to address homelessness following the backlash.