Camp Rumdum for bums, MDHI Point-in-Time Report for 2015

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

Camp Rumdum was established this past Saturday evening, and is conveniently located adjacent to the parking lot of Bustop Gentleman’s Club at 4871 N. Broadway in Boulder, CO:

Note the cottonwood tree next to the utility pole on the lower right; it provides shade to the denizens of Camp Rumdum during the day and some concealment overnight. 

True, it’s very small, but I can attest to the fact that several loud inebriates were partying there until they passed out the night before last. As I walked over to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless from my campsite yesterday morning, this small area — which is in full view of passersby and police patrols — was littered with homeless disaster blankets, reusable grocery bags, and other trash. I’m amazed that nobody complained to the authorities, who could certainly have ticketed the ne’er-do-wells, one of whom has been hanging around this neighborhood for years and spends hours each day looking for stuff to steal (including mine, on occasion). No doubt, he knows this is Illegal Camping within Boulder city limits, but it’s one more way he can give the finger to society. BTW, he’s an individual who was recently evicted from a new Housing First apartment at 1175 Lee Hill, right next door to BSH. So much for that program “helping” the most vulnerable homeless people . . . You can’t help everyone.

The Homeless Philosopher understands camping outdoors. Anyone who does so needs to keep a low profile, out of sight and quiet as a mouse. If you’re a pickled idjit lacking any common sense or the ability to control yourself, however, you should be prepared to suffer the consequences when the cops do confront you.

At last, the MDHI Point-in-Time Report for 2015, based on a count of homeless people done on one night back in January, has been released. CAVEAT: Many homeless people, including me, refuse to participate and and therefore are NOT counted; on that night last January, I was staying at my friends’ home in Longmont, CO.

General findings are copied below, from page 8:

Homeless Incidence: On Monday, January 26, 2015 there were 6,130 homeless men, women and children counted in the seven county Metro Denver area. This number includes persons who filled out a survey and their family members, as well as individuals and family members staying in transitional housing programs that participate in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

On the Street: A total of 13.1 percent or 805 people were unsheltered (living on the street, under a bridge, in an abandoned or public building, in a car, camping, etc.).

Monday Night: Of all persons, the greatest proportion stayed in transitional housing (55.2%), followed by emergency shelter (including a hotel/motel vouchers paid for by an organization) (28.8%) and on the street/in a car, etc. (13.8%).

Newly Homeless: Nearly one-quarter (24.5%) of all homeless – 1,500 persons — were considered newly homeless. People were considered newly homeless if they had been homeless for less than one year and this was their first episode of homelessness. Of the newly homeless, over half (52.6%) or 789 people were living in homelessness with their children, and an additional 67 (4.5%) were unaccompanied youth.

Household Status: The majority of all homeless were households with children (47.8%), followed by single adults (43%). Families without children represented 3.3% of the all homeless population. Households with children included 318 youth respondents under age 25 which were youth headed families.

Domestic Violence: 650 adults and children reported being homeless due to domestic violence.

Income: Over one-quarter (26.0%) or 1,036 respondents reported that they or someone in their household had received money from working in the past month.

Chronically Homeless: A total of 750 respondents were chronically homeless. Of these, close to three-quarters (73.3%) or 541 persons were male, 192 (26.0%) were female and five people identified as transgender. The great majority of chronically homeless respondents were single (623 persons or 83.1%). HUD defines chronic homelessness as (1) having a chronic debilitating condition and (2) sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation or in an emergency homeless shelter or in a safe haven, and (3) having been homeless continually for one year or more OR having four or more episodes of homelessness in three or more years. On January 26th, 2015, there were an additional 59 family members (35 of whom were children) living with chronically homeless individuals for a total of 809 people experiencing homelessness.

Unaccompanied Youth: There were 355 unaccompanied youth less than age 25 in the 2015 PIT study, representing 5.8% of the total homeless population.

Veterans: A total of 586 individuals identified as veterans. Over half (54.4%) of veterans were staying in transitional housing, and less than one in three (29.3%) were in an emergency shelter. This is a shift from 2014, when almost half of respondents reported staying in an emergency shelter and one-third reported staying in transitional housing. Nearly all were male (93.3%). Almost two in five veterans (37.9%) reported that they have a medical or physical disability; over one-third (34.5%) have a serious mental illness, and close to one-third (31.2%) reported substance use. Over one-fifth (21.8%) or 128 veterans were identified as chronically homeless, which is a smaller proportion compared to last year. 

Click down to page 31 for general Boulder County info. If MDHI follows their pattern from previous years, city-by-city info will be released soon; I’m especially interested to see the City of Boulder data compared to that for the City of Longmont.

That’s all for now.

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