Misinformation from a Bridge House volunteer

By Max R. Weller


And it was published as a letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera, so I can’t let it pass unchallenged. I’ve copied it below in its entirety:

I’m concerned about what I’ve been reading in the Daily Camera about the homeless. First I read they are not welcome in a McDonalds, even when they have money for a cup of coffee. “Hmm,” I think. “Every time I go into a coffee shop in Boulder I can hardly find a seat because of all the people pouring over laptops for extended periods of time, with what appears to be a solo latte.”

Today I read that the City Council is thinking of banning the homeless from the main public library! I visit the library frequently and recognize some of the homeless from the soup kitchen where I volunteer occasionally, but they don’t bother me. Most are using a computer.

The vast majority of homeless people are either military veterans or have mental health or additional problems. Volunteer at Bridge House and learn for yourself. Where are these unfortunate persons to go during times of inclement weather? Every time Bridge House tries to locate to a larger building, howls of protest are raised.

Are we as a community so lacking in compassion? I would hope we could be more creative and find solutions.

Barbara Hanst


As far as the Main Branch Library at 1001 Arapahoe and its problems with transients, I’ve been pushing for them to adopt reasonable “Rules of Conduct” for all patrons. Example from the Seattle Public Library. Up the road at Norlin Library on the CU campus, which has eight or nine computers available to the general public, I’ve seen CU Police officers escort drunks out of the facility and tell ’em not to come back for a year. It works. It’s rare that anyone behaves badly there.
Maybe Barb should ask Jim Budd’s victim (a lady of my acquaintance) about volunteering at Bridge House (formerly called Carriage House). She has a different perspective . . .
Barb, I have some shocking news for you, from the 2013 Metro Denver Homeless Initiative Point-in-Time Survey. Please note that of the 748 homeless people counted in the City of Boulder in January of last year (2014 data won’t be available for a couple more months), ONLY 52 WERE VETERANS. That’s about 7 percent of the total number. The City of Longmont showed a similar small percentage of homeless people there as veterans. I was surprised by this, even though I knew it was an urban myth that most street people are vets. Getting homeless vets into housing is one of the rare success stories that can be seen in the current system.
The mentally ill and developmentally disabled homeless people who have been dumped onto the streets — thanks largely to the ACLU and other civil rights “advocates” — would be much safer and no doubt happier in group homes, with a minimal degree of supervision 24/7. Perhaps you, Barb Hanst, should take Judd Golden of the local ACLU chapter to task in that regard.
I look forward to the day when do-gooders won’t feel it necessary to spread misinformation to further their inappropriate compassion.

4 thoughts on “Misinformation from a Bridge House volunteer

  1. A Price

    I volunteered for the Point in Time survey in 2012. Many of the people we counted as “homeless” actually had a roof over their heads BUT they didn’t have a permanent address or lease. From insiders in the nonprofit industry the word is that it is much better to over count than under count to help secure more funding for area nonprofits. There are definitely many homeless people out on the streets and they need housing and basic services- BUT the Point in Time survey in Boulder County and probably elsewhere doesn’t necessarily give an honest count.

    1. homelessphilosopher Post author

      I mostly rely on the Point-in-Time Survey as a way to compare one year’s count to another year’s in a given city, or one city’s count to another city’s in the same year. It has varied dramatically in both Boulder and Longmont during the past few years. Tidbits like the number of veterans are interesting, to the extent that they put the lie to people’s mistaken beliefs.

      BTW, I’ve refused to be counted the past two years, mostly because I object to the wasteful spending I see — the prime example being the 31-unit, $6 million Housing First project at 1175 Lee Hill, right next door to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.

  2. A Price

    Good points Max. I also volunteered last summer to interview homeless people in Longmont who were receiving food from a local nonprofit. Several of them said they were veterans- and they were about the right age for the Vietnam War era. Again though, many people who came out for food when the van arrived were open about having housing- some lived in the flea bad Dickens Manor, some were from the Longmont Treatment Center, a few fro the Inn Between. Other folks said they were staying with relatives. This is only a snapshot of people who asked for food and supplies, but of the 25 people I “interviewed” only four were actually sleeping outside. Thanks for the plug for “Bowling…” Sales are slow. If anyone would like to read a PDF version for free they can email me at apriceb4b@gmail.com. I knew the book wouldn’t make any money- but I wanted to share the story. Cheers!


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