Monthly Archives: September 2016

Today marks 14 years as a homeless man

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

Yes, it was September 30th way back in 2002 when I began this journey of discovery. I’ve NEVER been a believer in do-gooder programs (no matter whether funding comes from either private or public sources, it’s all a self-perpetuating farce) and everything I’ve observed firsthand in jail and prison in Missouri, as a participant in a series of transitional living programs in different cities and states, and as the Homeless Philosopher living here in Boulder, CO since early 2008 has confirmed my considered opinion.

The times when I’ve gotten myself into terrible emotional turmoil have been those when I’ve forgotten the wisdom of 19th Century British PM Benjamin Disraeli: “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.” I certainly wasn’t prepared to find all of my camping gear taken by CDOT in 2011 and again by a Boulder County Jail work crew in 2013 (the latter from private property where I had permission to camp alone), nor on other occasions when the worst-behaved transients have helped themselves to my property.

Perhaps worst of all is when the bums steal my cans of Spam, but I digress . . .

Now, I’ve pretty much resigned myself to being ripped off from time to time, in view of the fact that Boulder’s homeless shelter / services industry will accept sketchy characters from all over the country — predators with no regard at all for anyone they perceive as being weaker. It’s according to the local nonprofits’ unwritten and unspoken creed: More Homeless People = More Money.

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A pox on the bleeding heart liberal philosophy which conflates ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR with compassion. If you want to help transients who have no ties to Boulder County and therefore no stake in living by ordinary standards of decent behavior, offer them each the $5 bus ticket on RTD bound for Denver along with a sack lunch to-go, rather than having police cite them into the local justice system for some petty offense(s).

Please remember NOT to offer a helping hand to the homeless with any hidden agenda attached, such as the hope of getting them into the dead end social services system. I’ve consistently refused to become a pawn myself, precisely because I’ve seen that it doesn’t live up to the promises made. Better for me personally, and for many others I know, to retain as much FREEDOM as possible. As long as one is clean and sober, law-abiding, and not suffering any mental illness, what business should one’s lifestyle choice be to anyone else? Give homeless people and all others who meet these criteria the dignity to make their own choices, and respect them without reservation.

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Boulder Shelter: ‘Important Overnight Sheltering Information’

See their website here. Excerpt copied below:

Important Overnight Sheltering Information
You must sign up in advance to have access to nightly Winter Sheltering beds.
No walk-ups.

Procedure:
In order to enter the lottery for an overnight bed, you must do one of the following:

  • 7:30pm – 7:30am daily:
    For those residents already staying overnight at the Shelter or using Morning Services, sign up in person at the Shelter with Staff between 7:30pm – 7:30am.  No walk-ups.
  • 8:00am – 10:00am daily:
    Call and leave a message or text your full name, gender and full date of birth to:

720-432-2815

A daily lottery will be conducted, and a list of all residents to be admitted for the night will [be] posted on this website (www.bouldershelter.org) by noon each day.

—————————————————————————

bouldershelter

This meme will remind you that Boulder Shelter for the Homeless still does NOT require a valid photo ID showing a Boulder County address, NOR any valid photo ID whatsoever, and registered sex offenders — as well as perverts who have failed to register as required by law — will continue to be eligible for shelter / services at this facility. Adult survivors of sexual abuse take note!

— MRW 

‘Phoenix rising from the ashes’ of Boulder Manor

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS! (AND IF I WERE A BETTER TEACHER YOU’D ALL UNDERSTAND THAT BY NOW)

By Max R. Weller

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Stronger than before?

(Note to Roger O, who left this comment here on my blog: “Hey Max. I’ve got a zero-degree North Face sleeping bag and a spare thermos that you are welcome to have. The bag has synthetic filling and not down, so it is a bit bulky but it should stay somewhat warm if the filling becomes wet for any reason.” Roger, please drop these items by to Room 703A at [Dickens] Manor, 4685 Baseline Rd. in Boulder, before next Friday, 10/7/2016. Other kindhearted folks who are inclined to contribute to my cause of Winter Survival can also visit me here. Thanks so much to everyone!)

In view of the $35,000+ that this nursing home has received for my “care” in the five months I’ve been here, I’m NOT going to feel at all guilty for stealing a couple of blankets and maybe a pillow, too. It WILL bother me to swipe a shopping cart belonging to Safeway nearby, to tote around all of my stuff (I’ve long since given up my locker at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and it’s very unlikely one will be available after they open on 10/1), but I can look out the window here at Meadows Branch Library and see one abandoned. Finders keepers . . .

Right before I left the Manor to walk over to the library, Dilaudid Man was whining again to the RN on duty in our West hall about the Physician on staff NOT having seen him in a month. (I would take this as a Good Sign, rather than a cause for concern and complaint.) DM is the guy who almost never leaves his room except to obtain his doses of Dilaudid and other narcotic painkillers (he had a fentanyl patch at one time), and he was so upset this morning that he said, “This is just a very expensive cheap motel!” As he rolled himself away in his wheelchair I remarked that you have to pay for dope in a cheap motel, but I guess he didn’t hear me. The cute little Asian Nurse did hear, and she turned around to me and flashed a great big smile . . . They know about the wheelchair fakers and pill junkies in Boulder Manor better than anyone.

My roommate, who was recovering from a stroke which paralyzed his right side and disrupted his power of speech, seems now to be getting worse and I think he’s given up hope. Despite all of the morphine they give him, he literally screams in pain every time a CNA changes his adult diaper or the Physical Therapist wants to get him into his wheelchair and take him to the Gym for some much-needed exercise. All Roommate wants to do, it seems, is sleep all day and watch his Kindle all night, if he can. However, last night the CNAs didn’t give him this annoying electronic device when they put him into bed — and after listening to him spend twenty minutes or so repeating the refrain of “I can’t find it” (which means almost anything, given his speech deficit) — I managed to get a good night’s sleep. Almost, but not quite, as good as I’ll enjoy when I get back to sleeping outside. Roommate’s woman is NOT helping matters by keeping him up until all hours, NOR can she persuade him to take a shower.

Next Friday morning, 10/7. I’ll be all packed up and ready to go:

shoppingcart

Better than a walker, because you can load all sorts of gear into a shopping cart.

I never thought I’d become a Shopping Cart Guy, but things have worked out that way, it would appear . . . If I have to walk all the way back to the old neighborhood around N. Broadway & U.S. 36, that will be a challenge. I did walk about a mile altogether yesterday, and had no muscle soreness in my legs this morning, so maybe I can make it in a day, with frequent rest stops, as it’s probably about 6 or 7 miles. Ibuprofen, as always, will have to be sufficient for the chronic pain of my arthritic hip.

Reality check

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Here’s the reality: NO responsible landlord who maintains his properties and carefully screens for tenants who will be good neighbors is going to consider anyone, like me, who has been chronically homeless for many years (and is an ex-convict, to boot). It is what it is, and I’ll never accept any Section 8 dwelling in a slum.

— MRW

Thoughts on my return to camping:

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!

By Max R. Weller

I suppose the easiest plan would be to go back to my old neighborhood around N. Broadway & U.S. 36 in Boulder, CO — and use Boulder Shelter for the Homeless for a hot shower every morning as well as the $1 washers and free dryers when needed. I’d be very lucky to find an available locker after the influx of transients beginning October 1st, so I won’t count on that.

Perhaps I can ask for some logistical support with storage and clean clothes from a friend. I’m also without any camping gear currently, and no money to buy any.

It would probably be wise for me to take advantage of the free hot breakfast every morning at BSH, something I haven’t done in the past (unless you want to count hot water for my own instant coffee), but this might make a positive difference in how well I can stand up to being outside in the cold temps most of the day and all night. Also, if I can get a new Thermos, I’ll be sure to make Ramen noodles in it to have a hot lunch, too.

I know my friends are a little taken aback by this decision, but there’s no alternative I can see. Yes, I’ve considered the options:

Filing an appeal of Boulder Manor’s decision to discharge me; although I can’t stand this place, which is right out of a Dickens novel.

Overnight emergency shelters; dangerous, dirty, and dehumanizing.

Transitional living programs; I’ve been in no fewer than six, ranging from private religious to Missouri DOC halfway house to private nonprofit secular, and NONE do what they promise to do for clients.

Moving to a city in a warmer clime; BUT, transients are unwelcome in more cities than ever. 

Playing a lottery to get onto a waiting list for housing; one or two years, if you’re successful in the lottery.*

Becoming a drunkard with a dual diagnosis of mental illness to qualify for Housing First.

Staging a fake bank robbery to get sent to prison; seems extreme, and I won’t do it, but the idea did in fact cross my mind.

I need to do more research on possible campsites and places I could shower daily in Boulder County, where it seems I’m stuck.

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Less than half of them have any ties to Boulder County, CO 

*Here’s the reality: NO responsible landlord who maintains his properties and carefully screens for tenants who will be good neighbors is going to consider anyone, like me, who has been chronically homeless for many years (and is an ex-convict, to boot). It is what it is, and I’ll never accept any Section 8 dwelling in a slum.

Boulder Manor’s greedy corporate owners MUST be investigated by a Grand Jury

NOTE: I’m scheduled to be discharged from Boulder Manor in two weeks, but I’ll leave sooner if possible and be overjoyed to do so!

FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY IS A ROOT OF ALL KINDS OF EVIL . . .

(1 TIMOTHY 6:10 NIV)

By Max R. Weller

This morning, as I was sitting in the dining waiting for kitchen workers to arrive at 6AM, I saw a schizophrenic patient who has refused to take his prescribed Risperdal aimlessly walking around and talking loudly to someone who wasn’t really there; then, after I’d gotten my hot water for instant coffee (with caffeine) and returned to the area by the Nurse’s Station on my hall to wait for my room service breakfast tray, another mentally ill patient came roaming by, destination and purpose unknown, dressed in a hospital-style gown untied in back and otherwise wearing only an adult diaper; then the typical chorus of patients crying out “Help, help, help . . .” started up for the day; then one old guy apparently suffering Wet Brain began wheeling himself all over looking for his keys and wallet (the other day he was searching for the wife he hasn’t been with in years); and on and on. As always at Boulder Manor Progressive Care Center, there were less than half the number of CNAs and RNs needed to deal promptly and effectively with residents’ needs, which can be urgent sometimes. I overheard one RN state that she was responsible for 105 patients this morning — nearly all of whom needed their scheduled meds — because another nurse had car trouble on the way to work. CNAs have stated that they each routinely care for 40+ patients on a typical shift, patients who are very needy and demanding. Frankly, I think the “Licensed Staff Hours per Resident per Day” stats in the preceding link have been significantly overstated.

It’s NOT for lack of money coming into corporate coffers from both private insurers and the taxpayers that this facility is deliberately understaffed; they make $7,000 per month for my “care” alone, and $11,000+ per month for other residents requiring a higher level of care.

There isn’t even a receptionist to answer the numerous phone calls placed to this facility by concerned family members and friends. Of more concern, there aren’t security officers on duty, and clearly crime against vulnerable residents is a major issue.

So you see, folks, I’m not just being a Smart Ass when I post this meme:

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Bureaucratic oversight has failed here . . . Thus, I believe Boulder County DA Stan Garnett should call for a Grand Jury to investigate possible criminal wrongdoing by the corporate owners and certain individuals in administration at Boulder Manor.

Teenage POS predator who attacked elderly woman on the loose

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

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16-year-old Jeffrey Collins (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)

See: ‘Dangerous’ teen sought as elderly Lefthand Canyon attack victim ‘doing a lot better’ in the Daily Camera. Excerpt copied below:

The 71-year-old woman who authorities say was brutally attacked by a teenage hitchhiker at her Lefthand Canyon home this weekremained in serious condition at Boulder Community Health on Wednesday — but her son says she’s beginning to recover.

“She is doing good,” Kurtis Leverentz said of his mother Katie Kulpa. “Her head still really hurts, but she is doing a lot better.”

Leverentz, though, said he’s frustrated that the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office didn’t release 16-year-old suspect Jeffrey Collins’ name or photograph until Wednesday, and said he believes the teen is wearing an ankle monitor.

He said the two teens who were with Collins, and ran to report the assault, told the first person they encountered that Collins was wearing a tracking monitor, which suggests he already was in trouble with the law.

“I understand the law has to protect minors, but this guy tried to kill my mom,” he said. “This is a whole new level.”

Carrie Haverfield, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said she could not confirm whether Collins was supposed to be wearing an ankle monitor . . .

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday publicly identified Collins after obtaining a court order allowing them to reveal the minor’s identity.

Sheriff’s officials sought the public’s help in finding Collins on Tuesday, but did not initially release his name or picture because he is a minor. They only described him as white with blonde hair.

“The court is allowing for the release of the juvenile information because he is at large and considered dangerous,” officials wrote in a news release.

I can practically guarantee that Jeffrey has been ENABLED by Attention Homes and other local nonprofits which provide shelter / services to ANYONE with no questions asked. Time to cut off all public funding to the irresponsible do-gooders, in my opinion.

Caffeine to the rescue, and more

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

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Homeless Philosopher’s morning tonic for a happier outlook on life.

I’ve had half of one of these big jars of regular instant coffee ever since my friend cleaned out my locker at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless some months ago, as I’ve been a resident in the godawful Boulder Manor Progressive Care Center (see Google reviews) since early May. I got it out of my closet this morning and went to the back entrance to the kitchen shortly after 6AM for hot water, and I drank two big mugs of it, one before and one after my daily hot shower with Ivory soap. These three things are remarkably efficacious in producing a better mood, even though my severely arthritic right hip is as bad as ever . . . No more decaffeinated coffee for me.

Probably the biggest reason I’m willing to accept Boulder Manor’s decision to discharge me effective 10/7/2016 and decline to file an appeal with the State of Colorado (although there is an element of retaliation against me involved, because of what I’ve blogged about BM) is that this environment, where the lowest-common-denominator of behavior by the street bums in residence goes unaddressed by the new management, is causing me to slide back into clinical depression. Been there and done that already, more than once with suicidal ideation leading to brief hospitalizations, and I’ve always been more upbeat living outdoors despite the physical suffering I endure. (Honestly, I’m wondering how I’ll be able to get up off the ground on really cold mornings this coming winter.)

I’ve observed other residents here in declining mental health, too, so it’s NOT just a personal weakness in me. Example: my new roommate, who is disabled due to a stroke, and receiving both physical and speech therapy. Unfortunately, he’s almost completely unmotivated to do anything to help himself; despite having the most wonderfully supportive significant other (her parents are both Chinese, so perhaps that’s in her upbringing) I’ve ever seen. This guy is constantly whining or using an angry tone of voice with her, as she tries to coax him into recovery to the extent this is possible to achieve. Long-suffering has its limits, I’m sure, and if this fool doesn’t get a clue pretty soon I predict she’ll dump him — and I wouldn’t blame her one bit. He was supposed to go in for surgery on Monday, but he got out of that by malingering (some vague complaint about not feeling well); last night, he refused to be assisted into the shower even though his lady told him, “_____, you smell!” She’s even asked him straight out, “_____, do you want to get better or just lie here in your bed?” His standard reply, which may be feigned sometimes, is that he can’t understand her words nor can he find his own.

A sad deal all around, and I intend to distance myself from ALL of the misery which prevails in Boulder Manor.

Even an old barn would be welcomed by me as winter shelter:

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This one has since collapsed, but I’m sure there are others in sounder condition.

You’ll never see me in any homeless shelter. Also been there and done that . . .

Have a good day, everyone!