‘We can end homelessness,’ says Bridge House executive director

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

By Max R. Weller

I opened up the Daily Camera’s Sunday edition this morning to find a guest opinion by one of our local leaders in the homeless shelter/services industry, Isabel McDevitt: Solving homelessness within our reach. I was immediately reminded of President George W. Bush’s pronouncement, “Mission Accomplished,” after Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown in early 2003.

Speaking as a homeless man who has lived here in Boulder, CO and its environs since early 2008, I consider Ms. McDevitt’s statement as ill-advised as President Bush’s. To carry the analogy a step further — as long as millions and millions of dollars (from both public and private sources) continue pouring into various overpriced schemes to solve homelessness, we can expect the same results as we’ve seen with “nation building” in Iraq, and some of the same motivation is at work to grab all of the money available and then ask for more. Halliburton should look into building Housing First projects; I think there will be a never-ending supply of alcoholic clients who will fill all space in housing, as long as sobriety is NOT a requirement.

As far as Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill goes, my own source within that facility reports to me that seven clients have passed away since it opened in late 2014, there have been more than thirty 9-1-1 calls to the police, and almost seventy 9-1-1 calls for paramedics. Maybe Ms. McDevitt considers this a positive outcome, but I doubt most others in Boulder will. It certainly isn’t saving money on emergency services!

In fact, it’s obvious to this firsthand observer that NONE of the approaches to homelessness being bankrolled here is effective.

I challenge our local leaders of the various nonprofits involved to produce a client who has been helped on a long-term basis, and to let that client speak in his/her own behalf by a commentary in the Daily Camera.

(This post will be submitted as a letter-to-the-editor of the DC.)

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