State Boots Homeless Man For Camping On His Own Property
Homelessness is a serious problem in America. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published a report which revealed that under a conservative estimate, there were nearly 565,000 homeless people in America living in cars, homeless shelters, or subsidized housing.
Clem Smith, a resident of Colorado, was once one of these people. For six years he had no place to call home and no hope for the future until his mother passed away and left him with something he never thought he would have, $214,000 dollars and a chance for a much more secure future. He spent $125,000 on new property and the rest on improvements and equipment including a power connection, dump truck, water well, septic engineering, road engineering, a shipping container, a car, and an RV in which he lives in.
However, as a result of receiving a complaint from an irritated neighbor, the state had stepped in and decided that it was unlawful in the City of Denver for Clem to stay at his own residence until he was able to finish construction on a new home. Due to state code, in the city of Denver a landowner may only park a motor home on an approved surface such as a driveway if it is under 22 feet long and they are not allowed to live in it.
Jeanie Rossillon, Jefferson County’s director of development and transportation, said that under existing code, the RV is considered an accessory and cannot be parked on the property without a house. Ditto for the shipping container. – Denver Channel 7
Clem claims that he has very little money left to move all of his equipment and make the trip back and forth from his property and wherever he decides to take his things each time he wants to work on his new home. Naturally, he would prefer to leave his things in his RV and live on his property until the house is finished being constructed.
I’ve got nowhere to take a back hoe, nowhere to take my dump truck, nowhere to take my shipping container. I’m going to have to pay for storage for all that. I don’t even know where to take it. – Clem Smith
Despite the fact that Clem has been actively working on building his new home, he has now been given the option of either paying a $500-$1000 dollar fine, with larger potential consequences down the road, or move his shipping container and RV to another location and make a costly commute to his property every time he wants to work on it. As Clem knows, every homeless person dreams of one day purchasing their own property and building a home. The last thing that should deter them is state regulations which are not designed to help those in need get out of poverty, but to protect the already well-to-do from the unsightly scenes of the less fortunate.
“I don’t think it’s fair. I’ve been on the homeless circuit for several years and everybody at the campgrounds and at Walmart is hoping to get a piece of property and build their own home…I shouldn’t have to pay a fine, I’m not a criminal.” – Clem Smith
Hopefully Clem is able to work something out and build his new home without too much interference from state bureaucrats.
America is known around the world for its opportunity and social mobility. One of the things that is supposed to define us is our respect for private property and the ability to start with nothing and through hard work achieve the lifestyle we want. However, one obstacle which is making itself more apparent is state control.
Read more articles from Phillip Schneider.
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