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I’ve been living in Boulder, CO and its environs as a homeless man for the past eight years. I do not use any taxpayer-funded social services, nor do I frequent the numerous free giveaway venues run by private nonprofits — with the exception of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless where I shower in the morning, after camping nearby overnight (I’ve donated hundreds of dollars to BSH as well as many gently-used paperbacks over the years, and I provide my own toiletries, so I figure the cost of hot water I use has been paid many times over).
As a firsthand observer of homelessness in a city which prides itself as being progressive, I’ve set my thoughts down for others to consider in a blog, which I’ve been writing since September of 2009. See: https://homelessphilosopher.wordpress.com/
I applaud the Denver Post’s Editorial Board for their critique of a study done by Denver University: http://www.denverpost.com/editorials/ci_29533453/du-report-homelessness-is-unfair-colorado-cities
It’s painfully apparent to me that the millions and millions of dollars being spent on efforts to either “end” or to “address” homelessness are having little positive impact overall. Consider the over $6M initial cost of 31 Housing First apartments at 1175 Lee Hill in Boulder, as well as the over $4M cost of so-called transitional housing for 48 men and women in Bridge House’s 4747 Table Mesa project. That’s $10M plus for only 79 clients, many of whom I know personally, and I can tell you that most will be back on the street sooner or later. Ongoing operating expenses at these facilities and taxpayer-funded social services for life are additional costs you must factor in.
Meanwhile, hundreds more men, women, and children remain on the streets in Boulder or in cramped, vermin-infested emergency shelters (and efforts by Metro Denver Homeless Initiative volunteers to count them on one night each January are inadequate). It should be regarded as an unconscionable waste of financial resources; and I’ve often said that More Homeless People = More Money in the eyes of shelter/services providers.
Thank you again for your most candid editorial, calling into question the DU study.
Max R. Weller, 4869 N. Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304 (303) 442-4646 messages