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Dec 27, 2012 10:59 PM by Eric Ross

Homeless "campers" asked to move their vehicles or be subect to tow

About a dozen homeless residents camping out in their cars along one downtown Colorado Springs street have been given notices to vacate.

There are more vacant buildings than businesses on a quarter-mile stretch of Sierra Madre Street near Cimarron.

In recent months, it's become a "hub" for the homeless.

"We are running out of options in this town," Scott Anderson said.

He's been sleeping in his camper for the past month on the same street.

Early Thursday morning, he woke up to find a "vehicle abandonment" sticker on his window.

"I'm trying to live peacefully and not cause anybody harm," he said.

The Colorado Springs Police Department says they put the notices on vehicles, not the city's code enforcement department.

"People have complained about abandoned vehicles and people parking down there," Officer Brett Iverson with the Homeless Outreach Team said.

CSPD is giving the homeless 3 days to move their vehicles to a different location before they begin towing. It's a request that has ruffled a few feathers amongst this community.

"I do believe we're being singled out," Anderson said.

Officer Iverson disagrees.

In fact, he adds it's legal to camp out in your car.

It only becomes illegal when the car stays parked in the same location for more than 72 hours.

"It comes down to the businesses down there," Officer Iverson said. "All the vacant properties that are trying to be sold aren't being able to because of all the vehicles parked down there."

CSPD says they are not intentionally pushing the homeless out and are just following the law.

The department also adds that they will try and work to find temporary housing or shelters for the homeless who have been asked to move.

However, Officer Iverson says many end up refusing those services for personal reasons.

Homeless shelters like The Salvation Army will never deny a person a place to stay when temperatures dip below freezing.

 

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