Owls calling at 4AM, and more

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

I was awakened by the owls’ conversation in my neighborhood very early this morning; it seemed that it was coming from three directions and close by, too. Of course, this is much better than the yelling of pickled idjits leaving the Bustop Gentleman’s Club, and the wild critters pose no threat to anyone in my experience here. Coyotes, bears, mountain lions, and owls; I regard them all as fellow residents of the Great Outdoors.

A trio of snoozing Barn Owls

I wouldn’t mind sharing an old barn with these birds of prey, either. They would keep the field mice from raiding my leftover corn chips and scurrying across my face as I sleep, no doubt.

A kind lady asked me yesterday, after handing me a $10 bill as I played the role of humble beggar at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36, if I stayed at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless in the wintertime. I told her I lived outdoors year-round, except for brief respites in a motel or with friends in Longmont. I assured her that it was much better for me this way, and any man who doubts the truth of my statement should make a visit to BSH around 6AM, in order to see the filthy conditions in the men’s dorm and restroom/shower area. The floors rarely get mopped, when you would expect it to be done on a daily basis given the number of homeless guys and gals using this facility. I understand from female friends who have stayed at BSH over the past few seasons that it’s just as bad, and maybe worse, in the women’s dorm and restroom/shower area upstairs.

There’s no shortage of free labor available, and I’m certain that homeless folks seeking emergency shelter would pitch in to sweep and mop if they were asked to do so by staff. It’s pathetic — a fairly new homeless Hilton which cost several million dollars to build is the dirtiest I’ve ever seen anywhere! This goes straight to the man at the top, as far as I’m concerned: Greg Harms, the executive director at BSH.

It’s no wonder that my friend “Sally” has decided to leave her spot in the First Step/Transition Program there, and return to living in her van. She’s one of the few program residents who was diligent about doing her assigned chore, and more. The people who could gain the most wind up dropping out before housing becomes available (and who can blame ‘em?), while the bums are recycled through the program again and again — after being evicted from apartments — to nobody’s benefit. It’s a farce. STOP SUPPORTING IT!

Winter is coming, but I don’t mind that it’s been delayed by this great weather lately.

That’s all for now . . .

An obsessed fan, Indian Summer, and more

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

Only in Boulder, CO have I encountered pseudo-intellectual poseurs — understandably hiding behind a cloak of anonymity on the Internet — who take great exception to my views on homelessness, but fail to address the points I raise. It’s much easier to dwell on sensational aspects of the crime(s) I committed over a dozen years ago back in Missouri, for which I pleaded guilty and served time in Missouri DOC and on parole supervision until January, 2008. Since my arrest in September, 2002 I’ve never committed another criminal offense of any kind, although I did abscond from parole supervision on two occasions (an administrative violation of parole conditions in my case).

In fact, I’d never committed any violation except for a couple of misdemeanor traffic offenses before that arrest on felony charges at the age of 46.

Obviously, anyone using the terms “sociopath” or “psychopath” to label me is NOT a trained mental health professional who has done an evaluation of me. As part of the process in Missouri DOC and under parole supervision, I was evaluated several times (every time one is moved to a new “camp” it’s repeated, and likewise may be ordered again by a new parole officer). The consistent diagnosis in my case was Clinical Depression, something I now understand that I’ve suffered from at various times since puberty. A couple of psychiatrists along the way offered to prescribe low doses of antidepressant meds, but I didn’t find them helpful and it was agreed that I could discontinue their use. Another psychiatrist offered a prescription for an antihistamine, because of its noted side effect of producing drowsiness in people who have some difficulty in getting to sleep, but I disliked the feeling of being hung over in the morning and again we decided to drop that remedy.

I did seek out cognitive therapy from a local psychology clinic while I lived in Springfield, MO in 2004. My therapists were graduate students in the Ph.D. program there, and I did find it helpful to verbalize feelings I’d kept to myself for decades. After a while, however, the focus of these sessions became my dislike of the parole officer assigned to my case at the time, and it was agreed that this was not a productive use of our time and we ended the sessions, with the understanding that I could return whenever I felt it necessary due to depression.

I am who I am, and indeed I did what I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have the unique perspective on the issue of homelessness that I blog about.

Well, duh.

BTW, anonymous obsessed fan, you misspelled the word “philosopher” in the name of your website devoted to me. ROTFLMAO!

Works at a nonprofit in Boulder, CO — and believes all critics of it must be crazy.

The weather outside has been delightful recently, and the sun has retreated far enough to the south that I don’t need to apply sunscreen. Sitting on the wall at my shady spot in the 4900 block of N. Broadway, reading a book or talking with a friend, is quite relaxing. There have been a few bums drifting off into places they aren’t welcome since Boulder Shelter for the Homeless opened last Wednesday, but that will sort itself out as time passes and complaints are made to the authorities.

Read the editorial Have fun, but show restraint on Halloween in the Times-Call. And because every night is Halloween at BSH, I urge both the emergency overnight guests and program residents there to behave themselves throughout the year. It will make your life in general so much easier!

Tonight at my campsite (on sale now at King Soopers for $1):

Tasty straight from the can, with Ritz crackers.

Max’s Journal 10/17/2014

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

Another quiet and restful night at my campsite, probably because the drunken transients are using up their allotted 90 nights at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless while it’s still warm outside. The pickled idjits will wish they’d saved those nights when the really cold weather hits in December and January.

I’m told that there was a serious verbal confrontation between a transient and the only BSH staff member (a newbie) who was required to be awake yesterday morning in the 4AM hour — the very first night emergency dorms were open. Luckily, the troublemaker was persuaded to leave the premises before anybody got hurt. A few thoughts on this incident and others like it:

1) Tell the miscreant to leave just ONCE, then call 9-1-1. Boulder PD expects to receive these calls for assistance, and will typically respond promptly with more than one unit. The staff member on duty should be sure to get an accurate physical description of the bum, in case he/she leaves before police arrive and a search of the neighborhood becomes necessary. All such cases involving Harassment or Assault should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

2) The idiotic BSH policy of allowing one of the two staff members on duty overnight to SLEEP has to end. These are NOT firefighters working a 24-hour shift! They’re inexperienced  employees supervising a homeless shelter where sociopathic and/or mentally ill clients often wander around in the dayroom at all hours. Two staff members on duty, both wide awake, are a necessity.

3) A few of the more reliable homeless men and women should be hired as part of the BSH staff. Many have previous experience working in homeless shelters, and all of them have a better understanding of who and what they’d be dealing with while on duty. The newbies on staff, especially, spend entirely too much time listening to bull**** from clients, when they should be paying attention to what is going on all around them.

4) Prohibit registered sex offenders at BSH, and show compassion to those homeless clients who have been victims of sexual abuse.

5) Require valid photo ID and proof of residency in Boulder County for anyone who seeks shelter/services at BSH. Transients from Denver and elsewhere have no stake in keeping our fair city livable, and many of them seem intent on trashing Boulder, in every sense of the word.

Bums like this should be given the $5 bus ticket on RTD to Denver, along with a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a bottle of water to-go:

“I have the right to do whatever I want!”

Another example of a Michelle Obama-inspired lunch for schoolkids:

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NOT what is served in the White House. 

Maybe next winter I’ll have a tiny house of my own:

Tiny House Plans: A-Frame Vacation Cabin

The Homeless Philosopher will be back on Monday . . .

Return to Boulder, CO and more

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

After a week recuperating at a secret location in nearby Longmont, my friend Dan dropped me off at my campsite in north Boulder yesterday morning. It seemed only natural that some bum I’d never seen before was lying in the ditch on the other side of the barbed-wire fence from my camping gear, but I’m happy to report that nothing had been disturbed. It was wet, however, from rain a week ago. I spread everything out to dry in the sun and gentle breeze, added a couple of new tarps to replace the old, along with a comforter from Walmart, and when I reassembled my “bed” and crawled into it early in the evening it proved to be most comfortable.

At my shady spot in front of the Mexican restaurant across the street, I found that the bums had once again, during my absence, started to toss their empty beer bottles around. I brought over a trash bag from my campsite and collected those I could reach, and “Sally” picked up a couple that were down in the ditch when she came by to visit later on.

Apparently, not much has been going on at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 — which is a positive. I still don’t quite feel like standing there, flying the little sign I’ve had for the past four years, but Sally and anyone else who can behave decently while panhandling is welcome to do so. Characters like Drunk Brian (gone back to Michigan), Shouting Joe from St. Louis (in Boulder County Jail for three felony counts of Sex Assault), and the Denver King (who may have left the state after failing to appear in court on a Harassment charge) need never return to our peaceful neighborhood.

I went over to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless at 5PM to see how many transients were there for intake on the first night of the season, and also to put away some new clothes in my locker. Didn’t appear to be very many, maybe a dozen, but this was before the Free Bus from downtown arrived. When I went back to BSH this morning at 6AM, it still wasn’t much of a crowd compared to what you’ll see in December and January, and the rule that limits anyone to just 90 nights during the course of the 6-month season probably will lead many transients to save their nights during this Indian Summer of October.

Greg Harms, executive director of BSH, was on hand in case the media showed up. I don’t think they did. I’ve often said that an “undercover” reporter should spend a night or two in this facility; the resulting story would open the eyes of a lot of people here in Boulder, who mistakenly assume that any nonprofit must be on the side of the angels. LOL!

Well, the KC Royals have swept the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, and are returning to the World Series for the first time since winning it in 1985. No sober person could have predicted this at the beginning of the 2014 baseball season, but here we are. Right now, their probable opponent is the San Francisco Giants, who hold a 3-1 games lead over the Cardinals in the NLCS.

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Kansas City Royals on Facebook

Tonight at my campsite: unhealthy goodies from King Soopers, including Halloween treats.

Max’s Journal 10/14/2014

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

I ate a couple of my homemade biscuits for breakfast a short while ago, after popping them into the microwave for 30 seconds, and I have to say they’re excellent. My hosts seem to like them, too, which is why I’m leaving another baker’s dozen in their freezer . . . Now, if I could just persuade everyone to try my bacon-wrapped meatloaf recipe, made with both ground beef and ground pork, life would be perfect.

On today’s agenda: Haircut, which is easy to do by yourself with two mirrors, so you can see the back of your head. Nothing fancy for me; the ol’ buzz cut is fine.

“Figures lie and liars figure” is an old saying that holds true for self-styled homeless advocates here in Boulder, CO. Recently, the guy who posts stuff on the BOHO Facebook page has been advancing the claim that overall homelessness in Utah has been reduced by 78%. The truth is quite different, and it involves only the small percentage of the homeless population who are chronically living on the streets or in shelters (liars figure); some advocates in that state are claiming that rapid re-housing programs have reduced the number of “chronically homeless” by 78%. Maybe, but you must realize that so many of these poor souls get evicted after only a short time in subsidized housing, because they lack the life skills necessary to get along with landlords and other tenants. Even so, simply getting into housing is counted as a successful outcome for statistical purposes (being evicted a month later doesn’t change that, hence “figures lie”).

Here’s an interesting article from the Deseret News online: Housing lifts people out of homelessness, but challenges are ongoing. Quoting from it below:

As Joseph Hardy explains, leaving homelessness is a lot like being a crab in a bucket of crabs.

“You don’t have to put a lid on a bucket of crabs,” Hardy said, explaining that as soon as one crab scrambles up the side of the pail, the other crabs pull it back into the container.

“Whenever someone starts to climb out, the other crabs, homeless people, pull them back into the bucket,” Hardy said, speaking Wednesday on a panel during Utah’s annual Homeless Summit in downtown Salt Lake City . . .

Linda Bonds, who was homeless “off and on” for 20 years until she entered supportive housing, said she, too, has learned to set strict limits when people ask to stay in her apartment.

“I let them know this is not a flop house. This is a residence,” Bonds said. “I’m not going let them mess up mine when they don’t even want one.”

Here’s the deal: Accept responsibility for your own actions! Otherwise, you’ll keep recycling from the streets into housing and back to the streets, again.

Putting alcoholics into Housing First apartments — where they can continue drinking themselves to death — is a cruel joke, and it deprives the homeless who are clean and sober of access to housing.

BTW, the suggestion in the article linked to above for giving grocery store gift cards is great; even better is getting to know a panhandler on a personal level.

There must be a lot of lonely guys (and a few lonely gals) out there in cyberspace, so desperate they’ll jump at any chance to see nekkid boobs. How else to explain these stats from my blog? See:

Screenshot from 2014-10-14 09:14:03Screenshot 10/14/2014 @ 9:13AM MDT (click on image to enlarge)

You poor saps are wasting your time with Catharine Pierce. I’ve never been a Breast Man per se, and I think pretty eyes are any woman’s most attractive feature, but to demonstrate my compassion I’ll post a pic here of Kate Upton and her personal flotation devices:

Kate-Upton-Hits-Out-At-Hacker-Who-Leaked-Her-Nude-Photos1

You know, if she would lose the clumps of mascara she could be a beautiful young woman.

Heading back to Boulder tomorrow, right on time for the arrival of transients from Denver and elsewhere at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. It gets worse every winter season . . .

The old home place in Lexington, MO

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

It doesn’t look like much now, but I miss it:

Screenshot from 2014-10-13 19:56:15Screenshot 10/13/2014 @ 7:56PM MDT (click on image to enlarge)

This is a different Google Street View than the one I’d seen a few years ago, which had a car parked in front of the house. I guess they must update these maps every so often.

Opportunity Village Eugene, and more

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

Great things are happening in Eugene, OR (and elsewhere around the country).

Read about it here. Copied from the OVE webpage:

The completion of the village was celebrated at an open house on May 31 with approximately 200 people from the community stopping in for a tour or joining the opening ceremony with Mayor Piercy, OVE Board members and villagers.  While 30 units were originally planned for the village, the Board has opted to leave one space open for future use.  With the construction phase complete and the village near capacity, we can now show our cost for this innovative shelter.  The entire project was completed with just under $100,000 in cash donations and nearly an equal amount in materials and in-kind donations.  If the village were closed today, the cost of operating the village would amount to $12/bed night.  But if you amortize the construction cost over five years, assume the same operating costs as our last quarter for the remaining four years, the cost of operating the village comes to less than $3/bed night.  In other words, for less than $3/night, we are providing safe and decent shelter for 35 members of our community.  Subtract from that the $30/monthly utility fee which each villager pays, the actual cost paid by our donors comes to less than $2/night for each person.  This is an amazingly affordable model for providing basic shelter.  Not surprisingly, we continue to see strong interest around the country in similar models.  Work is about to begin in Austin, Texas, on a project with 200 tiny houses very similar to OVE.  Josh Alpert, with the City of Portland, recently announced plans to begin a micro-housing project on public property in Portland early next year.  Eugene can take pride in being a leader in this creative solution to a continual crisis in our nation.  The OVE Board is most appreciative of our working relationship with the city and various community partners to bring to fruition the vision we first articulated two years ago for a self-managed model community of tiny houses to provide shelter and support for people experiencing homelessness.  

The OVE Board, however, is not content to rest on these laurels.  We want to go a step further.  The problem of homelessness is complex but common to all without shelter is lack not just of income but of assets.  Many of the villagers have income but not enough to pay rent in current housing market and without other assets, their very modest income does not enable them to find any other housing.  Therefore, OVE is planning to build a second village, named Emerald Village, of 15 larger units which will be co-owned by the villagers, enabling them to build equity which will become an asset that they can use in the future to further improve their situation.  Similar to OVE, there will be a common bathhouse, kitchen and gathering space.  Unlike OVE, the units in Emerald Village will have electricity and heat. Residents will be required to show ability to make payments of $200 to $250/month.  A portion of these payments will go into their equity accounts providing them with an asset they can use if and when they choose to move out of the village.  Rules for living in Emerald Village will be similar to that of Opportunity Village.  Residents who currently are at Opportunity Village and who have sufficient income will become the first residents of Emerald Village, thereby freeing up space for other at Opportunity Village.  Those chosen for Emerald Village will also participate in its construction, putting in an minimum of 50 hours towards completion of the project. OVE has already received $130,000 in gifts and pledges toward Emerald Village.  We will be seeking to raise another $200,000 to $250,000, depending on land costs.  We look forward to working with the city on this next ground breaking project to demonstrate yet another way we can work together to make life better, not only for many who currently live on the street, but to improve the well being of our entire community in the process.

http://homelessphilosopher.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/9aafa-9968_624480710916238_737472151_n.jpg?w=625

The construction phase, 2013

Also, watch this video.

My take: Boulder, CO remains committed to hugely expensive projects (example: 1175 Lee Hill at an initial cost of over $6 million to build just 31 units for single adults) which serve only a limited number of homeless people, and the remainder on the streets are stuffed like sardines into emergency overnight shelters with no dignity and no hope. To be blunt: Boulder, CO is NOT a “progressive” city in any sense of the word, and especially NOT in re homelessness.

Here in our fair city, “serving” the homeless is Big Business and MORE HOMELESS PEOPLE = MORE MONEY. This is why local shelter/services providers — Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Bridge House — welcome the horde of transients from Denver and elsewhere, and refuse to give priority to Boulder County’s own homeless people.

http://nukethefridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/zombies.jpg

Arriving in Boulder, CO on Wednesday: “Where can we get Free Stuff?”

The National Weather Service forecast calls for favorable conditions all week long, as I prepare to return to my humble campsite in north Boulder. Friends and neighbors in the area who don’t follow this blog are probably wondering what has become of me, but I’m just recuperating in comfort at a secret location in a nearby city.

Tonight at my lair: homemade biscuits.