The truth about homelessness in Utah, and more


By Max R. Weller

For a long while now, we’ve been treated to propaganda about how Housing First is ending “chronic homelessness” in our neighboring state of Utah. Time and again, I’ve pointed out two relevant facts:

1) The chronically homeless are only a tiny percentage of overall homeless numbers; and

2) There are about as many homeless people in Utah now as ever.

See the data for yourself, in the 2014 Comprehensive Report on Homelessness; scroll down to page 9 and peruse “Figure 3.1 Utah Homeless Point-In-Time Count, 2005 — 2014” (I wish I could find data organized in this way for Colorado).

In 2005, there were 13,690 homeless persons counted in Utah, 5,565 of them in families and 1,932 chronically homeless. After some variation up and down in numbers over the years, 2014 showed 13,621 homeless persons counted, with 6,312 of them in families and 539 chronically homeless. Yes, indeed, chronically homeless numbers — relatively small to begin with — have declined. But, the number of homeless people in families has increased and the number of homeless overall has remained steady.

My guess is that many of the chronically homeless simply moved on from Utah during this time, some of them probably coming here to the Denver/Boulder metro area in Colorado.

To tout this as a success for Housing First is to twist logic into a pretzel. Look at the entire picture, people. Don’t ALL homeless people count, not just the “chronically homeless”?

Subway serves a free lunch to nearly 1,100 needy people at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

I’m delighted to see that sales of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” are booming, with people wanting to read it and decide for themselves if it’s an accurate reflection of the white mainstream’s racist attitudes in 1950s Alabama.

This summer in Boulder, CO has been very disappointing to me. I’d grown accustomed to this time of year being a break from the transients flocking here in search of Hippie Paradise, but thanks to our local shelter/services providers doing even more to welcome the bums it’s been a mess, instead. Not a morning goes by that I don’t see new faces at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless — and they candidly admit that they’re here for “legal” marijuana, which they think they can smoke anywhere in public or resell on the street for a profit.

Time for NEW LEADERSHIP among the nonprofits: BSH, Bridge House, Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow, and others. Their current boards of directors and staff must go!

BTW, there was a lot of blood on the sidewalk at my spot in front of the Mexican restaurant in the 4900 block of N. Broadway yesterday. The bums who were present denied any knowledge of how it came to be there, but I made it clear that their stupid violence needs to go elsewhere. Back to Denver sounds like the best option to me.

That’s all for now, folks.


One thought on “The truth about homelessness in Utah, and more

  1. SpiffyHeart

    Max, I’m sorry you have to put up with the violence at your favorite spots. Blood is not a nice site. On my way to the bus stop here in Cuenca, Ecuador I’ve seen blood pools along with broken booze bottles. Not often, but memorable….


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