On the northern border of downtown Denver, there seems to be an open-air pop-up bar that serves the homeless community. Denver police are currently looking into this. According to reports, the improvised establishment provided booze to local residents.
Division Chief Aaron Sanchez of the Denver Police Patrol voiced his concerns about the state of affairs, saying, “We’re hearing there was an open bar, sales of alcohol, things like that.” The authorities are looking into the situation seriously, he said.
In response to multiple complaints, Sanchez visited the campsite at the junction of 23rd Street and Champa Street with Denver police officers and other city officials. There had been complaints about the campsite preventing pedestrian access and blocking the walkway.
The actual encampment had astroturf flooring, couches and lounge chairs in plenty, and many displays of liquor bottles. Numerous empty liquor bottles could be seen at the location upon closer inspection, and large umbrellas had been set up to provide shade.
Sanchez stressed that the police are investigating reports about what appears to be a streetside tavern as well. Investigations are also ongoing into claims that couches and tents were rented out for prostitution.
Step Denver’s Director of Development and Marketing, Meghan Shay, expressed her shock at what she saw. She said she saw the apparent bar every morning on her way to work as she drove through the campground. An program called Step Denver works with homeless guys to help them deal with mental health problems and overcome addiction.
Shay expressed concerns regarding the pop-up bar that is providing alcohol to the homeless people, highlighting how it goes against the intention of tackling addiction in this community. “Over 80% of the homeless have experienced lifetime alcohol and/or drug problems,” she said, citing data. Additionally, according to a survey on street mortality, 60% of homeless deaths in 2022 were attributed to drug and alcohol usage.
The examination of this peculiar circumstance highlights the intricate difficulties encountered by the homeless community and emphasizes the necessity of all-encompassing assistance and remedies to tackle problems like addiction and psychological well-being in this susceptible group.