Monthly Archives: September 2012

Longmont’s OUR Center to close warming center

By Max R. Weller

See the Times-Call story here — http://www.timescall.com/community/longmont-non-profit/ci_21663068/our-center-prepares-close-its-warming-center-other (Sorry, I can’t get the insert link feature to work correctly). Quoting below:

The OUR Center’s board of directors decided earlier this year to close the warming center because it did not fulfill the nonprofit’s primary goal of self-sufficiency programming . . .

Longmont’s homeless population has more than doubled since 2009, according to numbers from the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative’s point-in-time surveys. The most recent survey on Jan. 23 counted 883 homeless in Longmont.

The other consideration is that of the 90 people who slept at the OUR Center’s warming center in the 2011-12 season, only 22 had become homeless in Longmont, according to intake data.

You may recall that the 2012 Point-in-Time Survey showed a decline in the number of homeless people on the streets in Boulder, CO to 750. It’s likely that many had moved on to Longmont, CO from the previous winter in Boulder, after coming from Denver and elsewhere prior to that. Quoting again:

Prior to last season, Longmont people made up between 70 and 90 percent of the warming center clients. [Our Center executive director] Salazar said shrinking resources in neighboring communities may have pushed homeless to Longmont for services.

Here are my thoughts on this issue:

1) I think it’s great for Longmont’s resources to be prioritized for the benefit of their own homeless people. Every city, including Boulder and Denver, should make the same effort. Stop the drifters moving from place to place and grabbing all of the Free Stuff they can, like a swarm of locusts with no respect for themselves, no respect for others, and no respect for the community.

2) It’s a big mistake, however, to shortchange emergency overnight sheltering which can save lives in extreme weather conditions, in favor of any so-called transitional living program which has a very low long-term success rate. And they all do, maybe 10% of clients getting off the streets permanently — and those are the same people who would succeed on their own, anyway, without the dubious benefits of any program.

3) I predict that many transients who had been counted in Longmont last January 23rd will return to Boulder this winter, once again using Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the emergency warming centers operated by Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow. So, we should expect that the number of homeless people in Boulder will increase in next January’s Point-in-Time Survey.

A final thought expressed in the T-C story by Rick Ebbers, senior pastor at The Journey Church of Longmont:

“One of the shifts that you have to make mentally when you say we’re going to help chronically homeless people is to realize — without it being a defeatist mentality — that some of them are going to remain homeless their entire lives,” Ebbers said.

Beginning a second decade of homelessness

By Max R. Weller

On Monday, 10/1/2012, I’ll have finished my first decade as a homeless man and be starting my second. I can’t remember much about how it feels to live as a normal person does, surrounded by four walls and a roof, with a family and friends one sees every day, and a job that is interesting and pays well. I’ve gotten used to living outdoors year-round underneath a tarp, my immediate family is all gone now, under the circumstances I seldom see my new friends here (they live in the Real World), and I work for free as a blogger with little success in educating pigheaded Boulderites about homelessness.

I’m happy, however, to have found a way to remain independent of both government bureaucracies and private nonprofits in the homeless shelter/services industry. (I could find another place to shower every morning if Boulder Shelter for the Homeless closed permanently, so I don’t count myself as a slave to it; it’s simply a matter of convenience for me). Thanks to my generous friends and sponsors, I make enough cash to pay for all of life’s necessities: food, clothing, hygiene items, camping gear, monthly bus passes, an occasional night in a motel when it’s really cold or there’s a good football game on TV, etc. And I still am able to save for emergencies, with $675 currently in my coffee jar stored safely away in my small locker at BSH. Compared to the many homeless alcoholics and drug addicts I see who squander their monthly “disability” benefits from Uncle Sugar in just a week or two — on booze, dope, and partying in a motel — I’ve found a much better path to follow. Thank goodness I don’t have to visit any of the free giveaway venues for the homeless here in Boulder, CO!

More to the point, my homeless lifestyle is proof that most of what is provided by the homeless shelter/services industry is superfluous. As far as I can determine, the system is more about job security for social workers, case managers, counselors, and others than it is about helping the clients regain as much independence and dignity as possible. In fact, if you’re homeless you’d do well to steer clear of bogus transitional living programs; as an example, the one at BSH makes people more needy and helpless the longer they remain in it. It’s little more than a scam designed to bamboozle donors into cutting fat checks to that so-called nonprofit. Apparently, all such programs have very low rates of successful outcomes for clients, perhaps 10%. In re the one service that actually would keep homeless people alive, emergency overnight sheltering, the government bureaucracies and private nonprofits fail miserably at providing an adequate number of beds. People need to be smarter, and recognize that Feel Good policies are not necessarily doing good where it’s needed most.

I don’t have a crystal ball, nor am I adept at reading tea leaves or chicken entrails for signs of what the future holds. All I can do is keep plugging away day by day as best I’m able.

The Homeless Philosopher 

Hysteria of hypocrites

By Max R. Weller

See the article from the Times-Call here.

Every one of the protesters, without exception, uses natural gas (directly or indirectly) obtained by hydraulic fracturing every single day. They’ve done so throughout their lives to this point, and the use of all available fossil fuels will continue into the forseeable future. Yes, generations not yet born will also depend on natural gas obtained by hydraulic fracturing. Welcome to reality. 
 
I do, however, feel the pain of this poor woman:
 

Karen Conduff holds up a sign during the Boulder County Planning Commission’s public hearing Monday on proposed revisions to the county’s rules and regulations on oil and gas exploration. ( PAUL AIKEN )
 
There have been times in my life, albeit very few, when I’ve also suffered from c-o-n-s-t-i-p-a-t-i-o-n. Authorities I respect have always recommended a diet of bran flakes and prune juice to start; if stronger measures are required, the old standby castor oil will work, sort of like dynamiting a beaver dam.
 

PurplePoll September 2012 edition

By Max R. Weller

See it here.

Page 4 of this pdf file shows that Mitt Romney has to make up ground, but overall results also show lingering doubts in the minds of voters that may cost President Obama the election:

Direction of the Country

Right direction: 38%

Wrong direction: 53%

Not sure: 9%

Obama Favorability

Favorable: 49%

Unfavorable: 46%

Not sure: 5%

Obama Job

Approve: 47%

Disapprove: 47%

Not sure: 6%

Direction of the Economy

Getting better: 34%

Getting worse: 40%

Staying about the same: 25%

Not sure: 1%

A breakdown of Colorado results can be found on page 5 of the pdf file.

It remains to be seen what effect the upcoming debates will have:

Voters who are . . .

Certain: 91%

Might change mind: 8%

Don’t know: 1%

I continue to view this 2012 contest between Obama and Romney as a repeat of the 1980 Carter vs. Reagan campaign, in which polls had President Carter ahead right up to election day. He suffered a crushing defeat.

The final straw

By Max R. Weller

It came when I discovered this morning that my comment following a Daily Camera opinion piece by Clay Evans had been deleted. This is my comment, which was also a part of a recent post here:

Making people who need help into permanent dependents on the social services system — an industry which employs scores (if not hundreds) of social workers, counselors, and others in Boulder County alone — rather than assisting them to return to an independent life ASAP is faux compassion.

Example: the proposed $6 million plus 1175 Lee Hill Wet House, a 31-unit apartment facility for chronically homeless, single adult alcoholics/drug addicts with a dual diagnosis of mental illness. None of these Housing First clients will be required to get clean and sober to be accepted into the program, and it’s not transitional housing at all. More like the end of the line, because clients will be allowed to possess and consume alcohol in their apartments — until they die from it. They’ll be just as dead as if they died on the streets, despite the millions of $$$ spent. I see these characters every day, Mr. Evans, and I also see those who are making a living off of their misery year after year. So what if you spend a bit of time as a volunteer? Clearly, you’re not seeing it like it is nor are you telling it like it is.

Meanwhile, homeless families are living in their cars because real jobs can’t be found in this Bush/Obama Great Recession. The social services system in America ca. 2012 is corrupt beyond belief.

Well, if the DC has so little integrity that it’s willing to cave in to pressure from Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and censor a legitimate comment like this — or if Clay Evans himself is behind the censorship — they can all go straight to Hell, as far as I’m concerned. I’ll have no more to do with the rag that serves as an enabler of corrupt politicians and the wealthy white elite in Boulder, CO.

Let one of the crooks in the homeless shelter/services industry take over writing a blog on homelessness as part of the Daily Camera website.

I’ll be much happier here at my new home.

Victims of the Bush/Obama Great Recession

By Max R. Weller

Homeless families like the one pictured below, living in their cars, can be found all over America. And let’s be clear: it’s NOT for lack of money being spent on social services, it’s because the focus of those services is turning clients into permanent dependents of the system. 

Although I don’t know the members of this family personally, nor even their location in our once-great nation, they are representative of a growing segment of the population who have exhausted unemployment benefits, and may have become discouraged about looking for work (in that case, they’re no longer counted as unemployed, making the true number of people in dire straits much higher than 8%). I think it’s safe to say that most homeless parents are ready, willing, and able to work. They want real jobs, not some make-work homeless program supported by taxpayers picking up cigarette butts on Pearl Street Mall for $8 per hour, 20 hours per week, until the six month program ends for them (“Ready to Work” from Bridge House here in Boulder, CO).

The solution is growing the American economy by encouraging the robust expansion of all kinds of businesses, including those which employ unskilled or semi-skilled labor. Many parts of the safety net would still be needed by these workers receiving lower wages, but overall their lives would be much better in every respect with gainful employment.

The current economic “pie” is PUNY due to the Bush/Obama Great Recession, and President Obama and the Democrats seem focused only on slicing that pie in equal portions. A small slice for everyone! What a campaign slogan that would be . . .

Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to bake a MUCH BIGGER pie. And some portions will be larger than others, granted, but nobody will be left out and living with their families in a car — if they’re lucky enough to still own a car.

Take your pick, voters. If you are doing well at the moment, I understand that your natural inclination is to vote for the incumbent. Just do me one small favor: look at the pic of that homeless family above, and think about how poorly they’re doing right now. Just for a couple of minutes. What would help them the most? More of the same lowered expectations from the past two administrations, or a new beginning?

“I happen to think that the best social program is a job.” Sometimes credited to Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson apparently said it first during his tenure as mayor of San Diego, CA.

Max’s Journal 9/23/2012

By Max R. Weller

> Maybe the best team Coach Bill Snyder has ever put together, better than the 2003 Big 12 champs led by Ell Roberson and Darren Sproles (who also beat Oklahoma) or the 1997-98 teams led by Michael Bishop. Collin Klein is bigger, stronger, and faster than those other two great running/passing QBs of the Snyder era, and with great defense and special teams this Kansas State team could go undefeated. I gave some thought to getting a motel room last night to watch the nationally-televised contest; now I wish that I had (goddammit).

> I received an interesting e-mail just now, in response to a question I posed following this Daily Camera report. I asked, “Who, exactly, is Citizen Center?” E-mail copied below:

Thank you, homelessphilosopher, for this question.

For those of you who think Citizen Center is anything other than what its name implies, please visit TheCitizenCenter.org. There you will see our goals and projects, as well as how to donate via BlackBoxVoting.org (a 501c3) (please specify “For Colorado Project”)–obviously not intended as a pitch to homeless philosophers, but to other readers who may be wondering how to help not only Colorado voters but those in other states that use the Hart voting system be sure that a cast ballot is an anonymous, untraceable ballot. So far this lawsuit has cost in the hundreds of thousands, and the judge on Friday awarded the defendants their costs to be paid by Citizen Center.

Citizen Center members are of all political stripes. Citizen Center is nonpartisan. Prospective new members are invited to check out the organization and join us in making elections more transparent.

Citizen Center is directly responsible for the removal of tracing barcodes from ballots in counties using the Hart system. Only Boulder County seems to be fighting this. Stay tuned. The court’s decision on Friday can be summed up as “the plot thickens.”

Mary Eberle, Boulder

Well, Mary, you’re wasting your time soliciting me for a donation. Not that I’m a skinflint, I just don’t support frivolous lawsuits. In my opinion, it’s another faux problem to occupy the idle rich Boulderites who have too much time on their hands. Sort of like protesting against Walmart. Imagine all of the time and energy that people waste on paranoid conspiracy theories instead being spent on real issues, like growing our economy and creating real jobs for all those who are currently unemployed but ready, willing, and able to work.

Vote for Romney/Ryan. I can promise that nobody in the Boulder Bubble, despite it being a Democratic Party stronghold, will search ballots for your identity and assassinate you for going against the grain.

> See this silly opinion piece in the DC. Here’s my reply:

Making people who need help into permanent dependents on the social services system — an industry which employs scores (if not hundreds) of social workers, counselors, and others in Boulder County alone — rather than assisting them to return to an independent life ASAP is faux compassion.

Example: the proposed $6 million plus 1175 Lee Hill Wet House, a 31-unit apartment facility for chronically homeless, single adult alcoholics/drug addicts with a dual diagnosis of mental illness. None of these Housing First clients will be required to get clean and sober to be accepted into the program, and it’s not transitional housing at all. More like the end of the line, because clients will be allowed to possess and consume alcohol in their apartments — until they die from it. They’ll be just as dead as if they died on the streets, despite the millions of $$$ spent. I see these characters every day, Mr. Evans, and I also see those who are making a living off of their misery year after year. So what if you spend a bit of time as a volunteer? Clearly, you’re not seeing it like it is nor are you telling it like it is.

Meanwhile, homeless families are living in their cars because real jobs can’t be found in this Bush/Obama Great Recession. The social services system in America ca. 2012 is corrupt beyond belief.

> As this is written, it looks like one of my friends will be helping me get to Wal-Mart (Walmart?) so I can get the clothes and other stuff  I’ve been needing. I may even forgive her for voting for Obama.

> Three weeks from tomorrow, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless will be opening its overnight emergency dorms for scores of Denver transients, and a lesser number of Boulder’s own homeless men and women. It just ain’t right that first priority isn’t given to those in need who actually live here year-round. “More Homeless People = More Money.”