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.