The one woman revolution Janet Matzen who organized against the restaurant Snooze got another victory when The Palm recently reversed its position on the Urban Camping Ban in Denver. The Urban Camping Ban makes it illegal for people to sleep outside in Denver with any type of covering, such as a blanket or jacket. Snooze recanted their support for the urban camping ban in 2012 and after 26 weeks of Matzen and supporters holding “Boycott The Palm” protests outside the restaurant on 1672 Lawrence St. on Friday nights, The Palm released the following statement on October 18, 2013:
Since opening in 1996, The Denver Palm has supported the city’s homeless community. Currently, The Denver Palm teams up with WeDon’tWaste.org to distribute nutritious food to vulnerable populations, donating our restaurant grade leftovers every Friday morning. We believe it is important to help lift up our homeless neighbors.
In 2012, when the Urban Camping Ban (“the Ban”) proposal was presented, we believed it would provide more support in the form of shelters, mental health services, and general assistance for Denver’s growing homeless population. There are far too many homeless people in metro Denver, and many of them have no option but to sleep outside on the streets. Since the Ban became law in May 2012, service providers have failed to meet the overwhelming need for safe places to sleep. The stated goals of the Ban included improving the business climate and appearance of central downtown areas; police being able to offer service alternatives that help connect homeless people to healthy alternatives to the street; and improving the quality of life as they move off the streets, into shelters, and access needed services. However, a recent survey of over 512 homeless individuals reported that the Ban, while achieving an improved appearance of central downtown, has done so at the expense of the well-being of Denver’s homeless population. It says that rather than accessing more services, it’s been shown they have moved to less safe locations and become harder for those offering services to find. The inability to wrap oneself in a blanket when exposed to the difficulties of winter seems unjust.
We believe the Ban should be amended or repealed to more effectively meet the needs of our homeless community.
We urge immediate action to help the homeless community of Denver, for example, dialogue between city officials and the homeless commissions, advocacy groups and homeless people themselves.
The Palm’s renouncement of the Urban Camping Ban came a day before an International Boycott The Palm protest was set to take place in London, New York City, and Washington D.C. Matzen and anti-Urban Camping Ban enthusiasts have been providing food for the homeless on 17th and Arapahoe St. on Friday nights and plan to continue until they pick the next business to boycott for advocating for the Urban Camping Ban.