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Encampments and Abatements

COVID-19 Summary of City Staff Policy

The city of Aurora is committed to a compassionate and care-focused approach to balancing the needs and security of those experiencing homelessness with the concerns of community members and the need to maintain the safety and health of the city as a whole.

The city of Aurora is following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is intended to prevent negative outcomes that could result from a lack of services from local healthcare, behavioral health and service providers, food pantries and links to permanent housing. The clearing of encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with services providers and increase the potential for the spread of infectious disease. In addition, congregate living such as shelters, where space for social distancing may not be adequate, is not always the answer during the pandemic.

The CDC guidance states the following regarding homeless shelters and encampments:

  • Homeless shelters serve a critical function and should remain open unless homeless service providers, the health department and housing authority have determined that a shelter must close.
  • Connecting people to stable housing should continue to be a priority.
  • Allow people living in encampments to remain where they are, while encouraging people to increase the space between each other and use hygiene resource.

The city requests the Homeless Service Outreach Team to visit and provide resources and resource information to people living in encampments. In addition, city staff assess whether the encampment is meeting basic safety requirements. Measures will be taken to clear or abate an unsafe encampment if the encampment poses a significant criminal or public health threat to the community or a safety threat within the encampment and surrounding area. In instances where an encampment is determined to reach the level of unsafe conditions and abatement is needed, those individuals in the encampment are given a seven-day notice to leave the property, and the outreach team once again provides them with resources, resource information and an offer of transportation to the Aurora Day Resource Center, where services and counselors are available.

Residents who have concerns about an encampment and the safety or health of those experiencing homelessness can contact Access Aurora at 303.739.7000 or Thank you to all members of the Aurora community for extending an attitude of care and assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.

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