By Max R. Weller
I’ve often made the suggestion that the excellent facility at 4869 N. Broadway, belonging to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, should be kept open from 9AM until 4PM every day year-round as the homeless people’s day center here in Boulder, CO. As a practical matter, it will never happen because of competing egos between the powers-that-be at Bridge House and those at BSH. Something must be done to get the worst-behaved homeless people away from Boulder Creek Path, Pearl Street Mall, and University Hill — and right now the day center at 1120 1/2 Pine is a magnet for bums from Denver and elsewhere. Perhaps a suitable location for the enablers to coddle their unwashed clientele might be found in east Boulder. The first step will be to replace the current board of directors at BH, who are clearly committed to the failed model of a day center in or near downtown. Leverage can be applied by all of the generous donors who realize the need for a change in direction, simply by withholding any further donations and making it clear that withdrawing support is because of failed leadership by the board.
It also bears repeating that the time is long overdue for Boulder, CO to prioritize homeless shelter/services for our own who are in need — transients from Denver and elsewhere to the end of the line for what resources are left over, if any. The $5 bus fare on RTD back to Denver is a suitably compassionate way to help them, and providing that would result in a big cost savings overall, as well as improving the quality of life for all Boulderites. I haven’t gone to the Main Library at 1001 Arapahoe (except on an errand to repay a friend) in ages, because I can’t stand the stinking bums who feel entitled to behave in ways unacceptable to those of us who were raised by human parents; I never have gone to Pearl Street Mall, which is more or less a carnival-style Freak Show; I likewise avoid University Hill, where bums have been known to set each other aflame in petty disputes over trivial matters. The lowest common denominator of scurvy transients seems to rule the hearts and minds of those running our local homeless shelter/services industry, to everyone’s detriment except for those who draw a paycheck for promoting this clusterf***.
These bums are pathetic! They’re not being taught any necessary Life Skills to cope in society, or even to survive outdoors as the Homeless Philosopher has done for years. Nothing is required of them. Instead, they are sent from one free giveaway venue to another. They’re overstuffed with free food, given free clothing, furnished with free camping gear, given free medical care, supported by taxpayers with food stamps and disability benefits, etc. Too many naive passersby hand cash to obviously drunken panhandlers. And don’t forget the lucky 31 street drunks/dope fiends with mental health issues — they’ll soon be housed in a $6 million plus Housing First facility at 1175 Lee Hill, and allowed to continue drinking/drugging themselves to death in the relative comfort of their own apartments. It’s a travesty of compassion. If financial and other resources were used more wisely, beginning with homeless families in Housing First, everyone would benefit. To be blunt: any one of the drunks I’ve known who died on the streets would have done the same in an expensive new apartment, and not been any happier for it.
I’m glad to see that Boulder PD is cracking down on the homeless rat packs, writing many more tickets for illegal camping and other petty offenses typically committed by them. The bums have only themselves to blame for any backlash from the public, who is weary of gutter trash and rightly so. You don’t have to be a knucklehead simply because you’re homeless, and my experience is proof of that.
Back to the point of this post in closing: if it isn’t possible to move Bridge House far away from downtown, then it should be shut down as a Public Nuisance. I haven’t been there since about March of 2009, and can’t think of a single good reason I need to return.