Monthly Archives: May 2012

Count your blessings, Janine

By Max R. Weller

See the Daily Camera article.

Among these blessings: You are, presumably, sane and sober and in good health. Plus you have a better work history than many other homeless people. And you’ve enjoyed the support of family.

It’s not at all a good thing to become a dependent of the homeless shelter/services industry, tempting as that may be when one is struggling and listening to enablers like Joy Eckstine, Betsey Martens, Greg Harms, et al. Their unwritten and unspoken creed is More Homeless People = More Money, which obviously is intended to create a permanent dependency on the system by the lowest common denominator of folks on the streets. Example: The proposed Wet House (a collaboration by Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless) at 1175 Lee Hill; clients in this Housing First program must be “chronically homeless” single adult alcoholics/drug addicts with a dual diagnosis of mental illness, and there will be no requirement of sobriety with residents allowed to drink alcohol on premises. It’s a travesty of compassion — and a means to greater job security for social workers, case managers, addiction counselors, mental health counselors, the list goes on.

Not where you want to go, Janine.

Good luck to you!

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Max’s Journal 5/25/2012

By Max R. Weller

I enjoyed a restful night at my campsite in north Boulder, after a late dinner of Chef Boyardee Overstuffed Ravioli and Hostess Ding Dongs (I never intended to eat more fruits and vegetables every single day). And this morning, for the first time in two weeks, I could bend my left elbow far enough to use a Q-tip in my left ear after my shower at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. The lingering attack of gout in that joint is almost over now, and perhaps my switch to ibuprofen from aspirin will help to prevent a recurrence.

I also enjoyed my time on the corner at N. Broadway & U.S. 36 yesterday afternoon/evening between 4:30 and 6:15PM; the weather was perfect, after I was rained out on Wednesday, and people were in a generous mood. BTW, I want to thank my friend Ruth for having provided me with monthly RTD local bus passes for many moons now — the June pass was in my mail at BSH earlier this morning. This has been a great blessing in helping me to get around in Boulder, and have money saved for other necessities. You’re a sweetheart, mi amiga.

You know, I was drunk myself on frequent occasions for about 30 years between the ages of 16 and 46, and I did a lot of crazy things in that pickled state. NEVER did I became as utterly stupid as this young woman, who is damn lucky to be alive. I would have done the exact same thing under the circumstances as these homeowners did, and I wouldn’t have missed center mass of the intruder, either. Thank goodness for the Colorado “make my day” law, which protects them from both criminal and civil liability in this case. Should the drunken young woman be charged with the crime of trespassing? I don’t know, it’s DA Garnett’s call. But, I will say that it’s a travesty this foolish chick is able to attend CU while much smarter young people lacking the financial resources can’t do so.

Unfortunately, the tinfoil hat-wearing organic farmers in Boulder County (who are motivated by money just as much as conventional farmers) won’t be persuaded, but it’s good to see a more rational Guest Opinion published in the Daily Camera in re genetically modified foods. Keep on selling those $10/pound organic carrots to the Boulder Bubble elites, there’s no market for them with poor and middle class consumers anywhere in the world.

Can we expect the halfwitted mental health counselor who started the Hewlett Fire with an alcohol-fueled camp stove to pay restitution? If it had been a homeless firebug instead, people might be in favor of lynching. I predict that James Weber will get a free pass.

Since Anchorage, AK’s Housing First facility for chronic inebriates opened last December, two residents have died there from alcohol-related causes and another was stabbed on premises by his jealous girlfriend (also a resident). Thus, the powers-that-be at RurAL CAP are busily trying to put a positive spin on Karluk Manor. What can we expect from the Housing First facility at 1175 Lee Hill in our fair city, a collaboration by Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless? If anything, street drunks here are even more determined to drink themselves to death and otherwise misbehave than those in Anchorage. I can guarantee you that there will continue to be homeless families living on the streets in both cities, so long as resources are given over to homeless inebriates who can’t be helped in the long-term.

Finally, it’s a great relief to this rider of the SKIP both mornings and afternoons that school is out for the summer. Why are so many of these privileged Boulder brats riding on RTD, filling buses to capacity, instead of walking or bicycling to and from school? Worst of all: parents I see almost every morning, who have already loaded up the kids in the family SUV, stopping to let them off at the bus stop. WTF? The little darlings can’t even walk to the bus stop? Sheesh! Future arrogant elites in the making . . .

Addendum: DA Garnett will charge the blonde airhead with trespassing. I hope she will seek inpatient treatment for her drinking problem ASAP.

Denver PD bending over backwards for homeless campers

By Max R. Weller

Maybe it’s a good thing, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the lowest common denominator of homeless people — those who have no respect for themselves, no respect for others, and no respect for their city — being given a swift kick in the ass. Often enough here in Boulder, I’ve been tempted to administer this Street Justice to sociopathic bums (many of whom are transients from Denver), but my naturally sunny disposition prevents me from doing so.

See the Denver Post article.

Links to the National Coaltion for the Homeless

By Max R. Weller

The info is about a decade old, but I believe it’s still timely in view of what is happening here in Boulder, CO with Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill (a collaboration between Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless).

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‘Poverty Versus Pathology’ See points copied below:

The “Chronic Homeless” Terminology Distorts the History, Causes, and Nature of Homelessness

  • The term “chronic homeless” treats homelessness with the same language, and in the same fashion, as a medical condition or disease, rather than an experience caused fundamentally by poverty and lack of affordable housing.
  • The term “chronically homeless” misrepresents the causes of homelessness for people who do have disabilities such as mental illness, addiction disorders or other physical disabilities.
  • The initiative to end “chronic homelessness,” especially as articulated in policies to shift federal resources to certain kinds of targeted homeless assistance programs, assumes that there is a static population of people who are homeless with disabilities.

The Policies Accompanying the “Chronic Initiative” are Likely to Exacerbate, Rather than End, Homelessness 

Preference in Awarding Federal Grants to Communities that Use Funds for “Chronically Homeless, Disabled People.”

  • This directive disregards local needs, realities, and emerging trends, and is therefore in direct conflict with the stated goal of the Continuum of Care.
  • By focusing scarce federal resources toward one sector of people who experience homelessness, the directive makes it more difficult for other vulnerable populations to access the resources needed to escape deep poverty and homelessness; ironically, it thus creates the pre-conditions for non-disabled people to develop disabilities and to be at future risk of homelessness.
  • Rather than expand federal resources to meet the needs of all people experiencing homelessness, the directive pits vulnerable populations against each other in competition for scarce federal resources.

Required Set-aside for “Supportive Housing” for People with Disabilities who are Homeless

  • The premise upon which the set-aside is based – that shifting resources to supportive housing for people with mental illness or addiction disorders will “end homelessness” for that population – is fundamentally flawed.
  • The required set-aside has already forced numerous communities to cut funding for programs that serve families, children, and other non-disabled populations.

Conclusion

In sum, “chronic homelessness” is yet another stigmatizing label — a code word for those individuals who are deemed to merit attention and resources because they fit pre-conceived notions of homelessness, and because they enable policy makers to disconnect the issue of homelessness from the acute lack of affordable housing and poverty that underlie it. The “chronic homeless” initiative collapses a wide range of experiences of people who lack housing into a singular, monolithic category, creating a false hierarchy of need based on resource allotment, not the structural underpinnings of homelessness itself. Thus, what is truly “chronic” about homelessness is the lack of political will to address its root causes. For millions of Americans, this “chronic” political inaction results in homelessness — the most abject form of poverty and deprivation — in the land of plenty.

Questions and Answers About the “Chronic Homelessness Initiative” See points copied below:

What is the “Chronic Homelessness” Initiative?

What is the Federal Definition of “Chronic Homelessness?”

What is the Stated Rationale for the Chronic Homelessness Initiative?

Why is this Rationale, and the Policy Implications Drawn from it, Inappropriate and Misleading?

  • The claim that “‘chronically homeless’ people represent 10% of all homeless people, and use up 50% of all homeless services” is a misrepresentation of the research findings.
  • Targeting resources toward permanent supportive housing for the “chronically homeless,” as currently proposed, is unlikely to “free up” emergency resources for families or other populations.
  • The “chronic homelessness initiative,” as currently envisioned, is incapable of “ending homelessness” for people with disabilities.
  • The argument that “chronically homeless” people are “the most vulnerable” among people experiencing homelessness, and therefore deserving of greater attention and resources, is inappropriate.

What is the Impact of the Federal Mandate to Prioritize Chronic Homelessness on Local Communities?

  • Communities are being forced to overlook the results of their own needs assessments in order to meet federal mandates to serve “chronically homeless” people. As a result, federal funding is not addressing the service gaps determined by communities.

What about Poverty?

Future Directions

The “chronic homelessness” initiative is beginning to redefine homelessness. Press releases, plans to end homelessness, and news articles are using the terms “chronic homelessness” and “homelessness” interchangeably, as though they were one and the same. No other kind of homelessness appears to exist — or at least to be worthy of discussion or action. In this collapsing of categories, all people experiencing homelessness are either pathologized or made invisible.

Proponents of the “chronic homelessness” initiative have attempted to deflect criticism of the lack of attention to “non-chronic” homelessness, especially the homelessness of families, by calling for “research and innovation” concerning those populations. Yet existing research has been ignored, and the involvement of service providers and public agencies with insight and knowledge about them has been minimized. Worse, the “chronic homelessness” initiative has diverted attention and energies from broader solutions to homelessness, most significantly the National Housing Trust Fund and mainstream housing assistance programs such as the Section 8 and Section 811 programs. Without greater support for these measures, as well as the soon-to-be-introduced Bringing America Home Act, people with and without disabilities will continue to experience homelessness. NCH urges service providers, advocates, public agencies, and elected officials to discard slogans, embrace solutions, and work to prevent and end homelessness for everyone who suffers it.

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It will take a while for you to read all of the info expounding on the points copied above, but I believe that it’s time well spent by everyone concerned. See National Coalition for the Homeless.

Max’s Journal 5/23/2012

By Max R. Weller

I have to wonder whether the local homeless shelter/services industry holding sway over Boulder City Council, specifically Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, have somehow persuaded Boulder PD to forgo either ticketing or arresting bums who are engaging in various types of misbehavior in my north Boulder neighborhood. Just this morning about 9:15AM, as I returned on the SKIP with my clean laundry to drop off at my campsite, I observed two squad cars in front of Boulder Bins (a self-storage facility) right across Broadway from BSH. The officers had made contact with one of the many Denver druggies who have come here to our fair city, who had decided he was going to lie on the sidewalk in front of that business. The cops left without taking any action, apparently not even asking the bum to move on from the area. After the police left, the bum got up and started running his mouth to a Boulder Bins employee who was spraying weeds along the sidewalk and fence there; presumably, that’s who made the complaint to Boulder PD and properly so. Why should riff-raff be permitted to act like this, hurting both business and the family neighborhood atmosphere? Could this be petty retaliation by BHP and BSH against the decent folks who have complained about the expansion of a homeless ghetto? If so, why on earth would Boulder PD go along with such nonsense rather than enforce the laws against Disorderly Conduct and other offenses? I may be old and I may be slow, but it just don’t make no sense to me.

Here’s an interesting model of a transitional living program run by the Salvation Army down in Denver, called Harbor Light Center. Contrast that with the do-nothing approach taken by BSH with its programs, where many of the same clients are recycled through the “9 month” transitional living there year after year, and many I’ve watched for years seem to get more helpless and needy the longer they’re at BSH. It has always seemed to me that case managers here in Boulder exercise extremely poor judgment in choosing clients who have the best chance of achieving success in any program. Housing First BHP-style, of course, is a total surrender to the lowest common denominator by allowing alcoholic clients to continue boozing it up on premises. It’s just crazy!

Good for these homeowners . . .

Tonight at my campsite: Chester’s fried chicken from King Soopers and Campbell’s soup, both cold but nonetheless tasty.