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Ray Lyall Denver homeless man loses home in legal battle over tiny houses

DENVER, COLORADO- Ray Lyall was among nine homeless rights advocates arrested last October trying to defend a row of Tiny House model homes they built on public land administrated by the Denver Housing Authority. All were accused of trespass and today was Ray's day in court before a jury of not quite his peers. Though the jury perceived Ray's act to be political and were shown the paradox facing the city's homeless, they found in favor of DHA and its SWAT eviction team. Denver's lack of sympathy for the homeless is shared by Denver residents serving jury duty. All of whom were conscripted through addresses, many of them gentrified. Like his co-defendant DJ Razee, the first of Ray's colleagues to take a stand in court, Ray was found guilty of trespass. Instead of jail time Ray was sentenced to twelve months probation, forty hours of community service, and a protection order to stay clear of DHA stooge Ryan Tobin. Ray also has to write a letter of apology stating that he understands trespass is not an acceptable protest act. Most significant however is an area restriction. Ray can't return to the area bordered by Arapahoe and Lawrence, 25th and 26th, the block where Denver Homeless Out Loud erected "Resurrection Village". If the tiny houses were demolished the night of the police raid, and the vacant lot has been locked ever since, what does Ray's area restriction matter? The where to which Ray cannot return is under the tree he and DHOL's real-life homeless members have called home before and since, a tree along the sidewalk of the DHA property, outside the fence but now inside Ray's area restriction, where Ray & co. never bothered anyone, though maybe they troubled Ryan Tobin's view, which is what prompted the heartless crackdown in the first place. Ryan Tobin is not just DHA's manager, he owns a $650,000 gentrified home across the street from the restricted lot. While urban "housing authority" entities purport to supply all income residences, they profit by redistributing properties to developers and relocating low income communities to the lesser desirable areas. Denver inaugurated Spring 2016 with homeless sweeps to clear the gentrified neighborhood of its street dwellers. Where police can't harass for "encumbrances" to move homeless along, they prosecute with "trespass". Each of the DHOL defendants who've reached trial or have taken plea deals have been given the area restriction. Restricted from a fenced lot surounded by no trespass signs. The legal overkill recalls the army of police officers deployed to assault DHOL and their tiny homes. Ray isn't going to jail but now he really has nowhere to go. Ray was houseless, a distinction that's not just a technicality. Now Ray is homeless.

Denver jury convicts homeless man of trespassing on their yuppy lifestyle. DJ Razee’s tiny house idea was too big.

DENVER, COLORADO- In the witness stand Delbert "DJ" Razee spoke eloquently about the Tiny House movement and Resurrection Village, a local experiment sponsored by advocates Denver Homeless Out Loud to suggest one remedy for the house-less of Colorado. Razee's lawyer Frank Ingham made fools of the Denver Housing Authority stooge and four police officers who testified against the chronically homeless English Lit grad. Razee was charged with trespass on public land, on an empty city block which was supposed to have been used for affordable housing. Razee was among ten homeless activists arrested one night in November for refusing to vacate several very small structures they'd erected on property which the DHA was converting from a community garden to gentrified condos. After two days of trial, a jury of well-housed peers found Razee guilty, lest others of his untouchable caste darken their doorsteps or the vacant lots near them. On Thursday March 3rd at 8:30am DJ Razee reports to Judge Beth Faragher for sentencing. It was an amazing trial. While his compatriots sought continuances or plea deals, DJ held his ground and never waived speedy trial. DJ was impatient to put the Denver Housing Authority on the stand. Their representative Ryan Tobin blew off a February 3rd subpoena, but when DJ's lawyer Frank Ingham cross-examined Tobin on the 22nd, Tobin incriminated himself more than Razee. Ryan Tobin was the DHA goon who pressed charges against the activists for trespassing on the public lot opposite his $650K home. Tobin also sought a protection order against one of the activists, which restrained that person from approaching not just Tobin but the entire public lot. Can one do that? The protection order didn't come up at DJ's trial. DHA The DHA is a quasi-municipal entity which handles city property meant to accomodate lower income residents. The DHA is Denver's second largest property owner. The city blocks at 26th and Lawrence used to be low income housing but have been razed for years. More recently a portion was used for a community garden but the DHA was evicting the urban farmers to sell the block to a high rise developer. The logic offered was that DHA could use the proceeds of land speculation to build more affordable housing elsewhere. That strategy might impress business people but it's clearly absurd. Instead of being a counterbalance to gentrification, this housing authority thinks its role is to be a tool for displacement. Tobin's testimony will benefit all the Tiny House defendants, depending on their juries. DJ is only the first of the arrestees to be brought to trial. Tobin admitted he had never clearly expressed who had the authority to issue a trespass order. Tobin also couldn't say who precisely was present when he made his initial announcement to the group, although he claimed it was "everyone". This was a chief contention of the city attorneys. How about an sidebar for activists, as a sort of debrief: On Tobin's first visit, someone among the activists called EVERYONE together to listen to his announcement,

Little Jail Cell on the Prairie: behind the peabrained small dwelling movement

Humans can live in very small spaces, usually not by choice. Tiny Homes are essentially jail cells for serving house arrest. They present as tidy abbreviated domiciles, organized as one might a fascist closet. Photos set them in pastoral settings, though we all know the reality would look more like Kowloon. Stacked coffins would be the next permutation and then you really wouldn't have to bother with plumbing.

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