Bridge House: Boulder, CO’s transient magnet

(Previously published on November 24, 2013).

By Max R. Weller

Exhibit A: ‘Survey: More than half of Boulder homeless who sought help at center were new to city’ from the Daily Camera on 5/22/2013.

I’ve said it many times: Bridge House at 1120 1/2 Pine in the downtown area ought to be closed down as a Public Nuisance. Without this nonprofit facility to enable them, the number of bums from Denver and elsewhere loitering on Pearl Street Mall, in Central Park, and on University Hill would be greatly reduced.

The homeless people’s day center should be Boulder Shelter for the Homeless at 4869 N. Broadway (currently closed in the daytime), and this nonprofit needs to model itself on others around the country which offer all homeless shelter/services under one roof. Here are links to two examples which I’ve cited before:

1) Haven for Hope in San Antonio, TX — note that they require proof of residency in Bexar County, TX; BSH should require proof of residency in Boulder County, CO.

2) Casa Esperanza in Santa Barbara, CA — “Casa Esperanza is shifting to a new model of 24-hour sobriety-based programs. We are implementing best practices from successful programs around the country.”

Street people who are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, to such a degree that they’re unable to care for themselves, need to be taken to either detox or to jail if they’re behaving badly. Those only slightly impaired, but well-behaved, can be housed in the emergency warming centers operated by Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow at a network of churches and a synagogue.

As far as I’m concerned, the best thing to give to transients at risk in Colorado’s wintry conditions is a Greyhound bus ticket to a warmer clime. I think there can be little doubt that this would also be more cost-effective in the long run for Boulder’s nonprofits and taxpayers alike. Toss in a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to go . . .

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