Homeless are scaring residents away !

Posted in: Unsinkables
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  • surfy0
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This is posted in the wrong neighborhood. Please remove from old San Rafeal.


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  • sclem
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I have also noticed the problem, and have been scared to walk the neighborhood at night.


I have noticed an increase in transient and homeless populations at both the coffee house and at St John's Cathedral.  I have engaged St John's Cathedral with very little luck.


Here is the string of communicaton from them.  Please notice that they copied their lawyer on their response to me:


Dear Shannon,


I thank you for reaching out to me and allowing Saint John’s Cathedral to clarify our position regarding the use and enjoyment of the Cathedral grounds and facilities. 


We agree that maintaining a safe and welcoming environment is a vital part of our role in the community.  To foster such practices, our policy is that the Cathedral grounds and facilities should be used only for the purposes for which they have been designed to be used.  The park is open to those who want to rest in the shade, walk their dogs, have a picnic, and are respectful of the people and grounds.  We do not approve or support activities in the park that are disruptive to others, such as smoking, alcohol or drug use; inappropriate language or soliciting people for money.  Camping is also prohibited.  You may have noticed that we recently posted several park rules signs on our West Lawn to clarify these expectations.  When we observe violations of these rules, we will either ask the offending party to leave or will contact the non-emergency number of the Denver Police Department to ask them to provide us with assistance. 


We also have been frustrated in the past few weeks with the increase in individuals who choose ignore these rules.  They may leave the grounds temporarily, at our request or the request of the DPD, but return soon after.  Often times, this is after the Cathedral is closed for the day and there are no staff present.  We then need to rely upon community and police efforts to assist us with supporting  the safety our neighbors. We recently reconnected with Officer Parks of the Denver Homeless Outreach unit.  As the officer assigned to our area, he agrees that the Cathedral has become a gathering place for some groups of individuals who are abusing the open and welcome design of our Cathedral grounds.  Officer Parks will be patrolling the area more frequently and will be communicating with the officers at the District Six stations to increase their patrols in the evenings and at night.


Yes, outreach to those who are homeless and others in need is a part of our mission.  But I hope you will not confuse that with tolerance and acceptance of negative, disruptive or illegal behavior.  As you stated, homelessness is a complex issue.  It is one that the clergy, staff and leadership of the Cathedral confront and discuss frequently. 


I am out of the office until next week, but am happy to continue this conversation either via phone or a meeting.




Here is my response:


Dear Tara,

I appreciate your response; however, I feel that I need to make something crystal clear.  I have proactively reached out to your organization on 4 separate occasions to try and build a relationship with the church regarding the issue at hand.  I have spoken to MaryBeth 2 times, and left 2 separate voicemails that were never returned.  One message for you, and another message for MaryBeth.  I have given your organization ample opportunity to open a line of communication with me, and each time the church has failed to productively respond or speak with me.  My dealings with MaryBeth have been deplorable to say the least.  MaryBeth has had a rude demeanor each time I have spoken to her, and has had no patience in trying to understand my point of view on this situation, which contributed to a not so friendly conversation earlier in the week.  If my interaction with MaryBeth is any indication of how your organization chooses to deal with the public, then frankly I want nothing to do with your church.
In response to your second paragraph regarding the use of your grounds, I clearly understand the actions that you have taken, and the rules that have been put into place.  Where I believe there is a disconnect between our points of view, is that just because you don't allow these behaviors to occur on church property, doesn't mean they are not happening else where.  What is happening, and what I witness everyday, is that the people who abuse drugs, alcohol, and participate in other deviant behavior leave the church property and commit their "disruptive" acts in the neighborhood and then return to the safe haven of the church grounds.  While these "disruptive" behaviors have always been a part of the social climate in the neighborhood, I have witnessed a increase in the number of drug deals, violent out breaks, and other undesirable activities ever since the transient and homeless population have found refuge on the church grounds.
My second issue is that with the increased number of homeless people in the neighborhood especially at night, my property has become a public bathroom.  Everyday, I wake up to human feces all around my building and we are constantly having to spray the walls of our building to remove urine and human excrement from our property.  I am sure you can agree with me that this is unhealthy, and nobody should have to deal with having their property used as a toilet.  My feeling is that if the church is considering their surrounding grounds a "park", then you should be obligated to provide restroom facilities on the grounds so that people have access to them all the time.
Lastly, although the church has had luck with the Denver Police department responding to calls to help manage this situation, my building has not been so lucky.  The residents who live in my building are constantly calling the non-emergency line to request assistance for many of the items that I have listed above, but we are not getting responses from the police department.  In fact, I have filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs department regarding this issue.  The response that I received back from my complaint basically states that until district 6 is fully staffed, there are not enough city resources to respond to lower priority complaints.  So, as you can see I am doing the best that I can to manage the safety in my neighborhood with the resources that are available to me.  
In closing, I want to address feedback that MaryBeth was so kind to share with me.  She told me that I needed to stop having a victim mentality and grow up.  My response to MaryBeth is this, all issues and problems in life are relative to each individual, and currently the problems that I am facing in my neighborhood are the number one stress in my life right now. Until things get better I will continue to write letters, talk to public officials and try to resolve these issues.  And just for clarification, when there are crimes committed against me, or my property, then by definition I am a victim, and I am sure if MaryBeth has had to deal with these on-going issues for the amount of time that I have been dealing with them, she just might feel like a victim too.
If you want to continue this conversation then please contact me at the number provided, otherwise I will continue to escalate this issue with other representatives within your organization and continue to try to work with my City Council member and my community out-reach officer.
Shannon Clem
Does anyone else have  any suggestion on how to confront this issue?

Homeless are not only a treat but they are homesteading by breaking into unused dwellings and locking themselves in.  This creates a problem for law enforcement because they would have to break into the dwelling in order to get them out.  One of the ways some communities have dealt with this is to form a neighbhood watch and another program for trespassers.  Go to he police department and ask about their programs.  Become police friendly by going to their public relations events and support them by turning drug events to them.  Crack houses and people coming in and out of a dwelling or home is drug trafficing.  This information for them helps as well as deter drug people who are ususally homeless.  Good luck and God Bless Ya.

I get a lot of peace from the  words of Desiderata...


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,

 even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment

it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.


You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life

keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata".
I know intimately about the Network. It saved my life on more than several occasions.
In the years 1999-2001 I went through a bad divorce. By choice, I chose to live in my vehicle to save money. How many frozen mornings in January did I wake up wondering where to get a hot cup of coffee? Doesn't sound like much, $6 dollars at Starbuches. Well if you do not have $6 that's out.  Here's the truth... Network is a part of the church that happens upstairs. It is a free coffeehouse. What? What is a free coffeehouse? That's kind of like God's waiting room. Everyone is welcome. Free coffee and tea... the pot is never empty. They don't even ask for a donation. If you would like to meet the Pastor, John Hicks is there almost every Tuesday 10-2pm. He runs a shift at the coffeehouse.[Grab a cup of joe and meet some interesting people. Maybe they had a harder life than you. Maybe there but for the grace of God goes...
Stop by on Sunday at 9:45 and go up the back steps to meet some of my friends,
 not just aquaintances but friends. Pat will be wearing tye dye ts, Kevin and Catherine will be worshipping God on high, Brian on guitar, piano,and stomp.. sometimes all at the same time.
It's a good little church, and it gives people with nothing and less than nothing a place to get a free cup of coffee. It might be you or your
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