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A police car at a sweep of a homeless encampment at Denver’s 4th Avenue and Broadway on May 5, 2021. Photos by Eli Imadali (except where noted)

Sharon Barth was facing her third sweep in four months.

She’d been camping out next to a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot at the corner of Broadway and 4th Ave. in Denver along with her sister and some friends. They’d tried to keep it neat by keeping their belongings off the sidewalk, and some of the neighbors in the houses nearby seemed friendly, stopping by occasionally with food.

But the notice had come a few days ago that the police would force them out on Wednesday, May 5, and it was now Tuesday afternoon. Barth was frantically sorting through piles to see what she could salvage, what she might sell and what she would leave behind.

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