Monthly Archives: May 2017

Random stuff 5/23/2017

DONATING TO A BOULDER, CO NONPROFIT DOES NOT HELP THE HOMELESS! 

By Max R. Weller

1) “Joe” left another comment here (deleted, of course, because I don’t allow anonymous statements without a compelling reason) in which he claims that my blog misses the big picture about homelessness. Then he goes completely off base by stating that for every druggie at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless there are ten program residents who succeed in “getting back on their feet” as the trite saying goes. TEN? I haven’t found ONE in any local program, although Bridge House’s Ready to Work tried to fool us with this ridiculous piece by “Jay Young” in the Daily CameraJoe, I want you to know that I always loved your commercials. How did you end up “on the streets” in our city?

2) As I rode past Alfalfa’s at the corner of Broadway & Arapahoe this morning I saw an example of the vandalism reported by the DC. It consisted of the words F*** Trump and the international symbol for A**hole:

Don’t be misled again by the polls, as most of us were last Fall. If this is what the Left is offering America, get ready for a second Trump term in the White House.

BTW, why would you pick on Alfalfa’s along with Wells Fargo? I don’t believe the vandals have any coherent message . . . The miscreants are most likely wayward trustafarian youths with too much time on their hands. If arrested and then convicted, I hope the judge sentences them to 30 days of scrubbing toilets at Boulder Shelter — because the lazy program residents there NEVER do!

3) I observed Sexually Violent Predator Christopher Lawyer at the Shelter this morning; he was seated near the front desk recharging his ankle monitor, until he noticed people looking at him. He moved as far away from view as he could, back into a corner near the west entrance. Apparently, he’s no longer the grinning sociopath we saw in the media . . . Here is the only effective “treatment” for rapists, giving them a taste of what it’s like to be victimized:

4) The rain yesterday afternoon and evening was something I enjoyed, as I huddled in my burrow and listened to the patter of raindrops, eating Ritz crackers dabbed with peanut butter. The mice enjoyed a couple of stale hot dog buns. The prairie dogs got NOTHING.

Meet ‘Joe’ — a guy who hates this blog:

There are probably hundreds of others like Joe here already, but local do-gooders want to keep them helpless and needy year-round, as they appeal for increased funding for various worthless programs. 

It’s a challenge for me with a severely arthritic right hip, but at least I stand up when I play the role of Humble Beggar at N. Broadway & U.S. 36 . . . And the only “services” I use are the showers and a small locker at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, a nonprofit I’ve donated hundreds of $$$ to in the past (before I understood what crooks they really are), and which covered up the theft of $350+ from my locker by a staff member back in March.

Joe, this entitles me to criticize them all I want. Now, go smoke some more weed! That’s why you came to Colorado, isn’t it?

— MRW 

FAKE CIVIL WAR: Boulder’s do-gooders all agree that More Homeless People = More Money

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING GREEDY HOMELESS SHELTER / SERVICES PROVIDERS!

By Max R. Weller

It just tickles me no end that two of the biggest failures among local homelessness providers — Joy Eckstine-Redstone and George Epp, formerly running the defunct Carriage House homeless day shelter and chief enablers of convicted rapist Jim Budd, founder of the soon-to-be defunct Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow — would initiate public hostilities with Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and its executive director, Greg Harms. To be sure, BSH and the moron(s) in charge there deserve all the criticism that comes their way . . . It’s just that Ms. Eckstine-Redstone and Mr. Epp have no more credibility than Mr. Harms!

All three of ’em are CLUELESS.

Anyway, here’s the commentary in the Daily Camera: Telling secrets. Copied below in its entirety:

A homeless man panhandles on the Pearl Street Mall in February.

A homeless man panhandles on the Pearl Street Mall in February. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

Communities at their best are like families, but that’s also true for when a community is at its worst. Communities have secrets, just like families, and react in the same predictable ways. Some of us keep the secrets close, some of us are the scapegoats, and some of us stridently insist on the dysfunction being heard. Every tome on family therapy insists on a central theme: for a family (or community) to heal, that the secrets must first be acknowledged and then integrated.

What does this have to do with homelessness? There is an unspoken secret in our community. It is the lack of cooperation from the leadership at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. This lack of cooperation has stymied nonprofit leaders, government agencies and homeless rights group for many years. They have been approached with ideas for collaboration that were innovative, cost-saving and humane by: Bridge House, Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO), Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement (HOPE), the Community Foundation, and many others.

Now, there is a real change happening in how homeless services are designed and delivered in the city of Boulder. Courtesy of the Homeless Working Group (part of the city’s Housing and Human Service’s Department) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (consultants hired by the city) a radical shift in services is happening. And, as many of these changes depend on the cooperation of the Boulder Shelter, homeless individuals are at risk in our community. Life-sustaining services have already been closed.

As of May 1, Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow ceased to provide emergency warming centers and Bridge House stopped providing day shelter. It is proposed by the Homeless Working Group that each of these services essentially be incorporated into the operations of the shelter in the fall of 2017. However, the shelter has not agreed.

And, since many of the recommendations of the working group incorporate mainstream best practices, you could argue that this is not a real problem. After all, the homeless services and homeless advocacy worlds do not disagree in principle with the ideas. It incorporates best practices like:

• Immediate assessment using validated tools that measure vulnerability;

• Short-term rental assistance to stabilize people in housing;

• Rapid re-housing that prevents long term destabilization and use of expensive services;

• Housing First services that prioritize housing for people that are mutually both the most vulnerable and the most expensive to serve.

Setting aside another questionable assumption — that Boulder as a community will agree to more low-income housing and that neighborhoods will accept such housing, this basic problem remains. The Boulder Shelter cites its management plan as the reason that they can’t provide year-round shelter or day shelter. They have been citing that management plan for years, as this certainly isn’t the first time they’ve been asked to consider these concepts. The management plan, by ordinance, must be re-evaluated every three years. It has not been changed since 2002.

Let’s examine exactly what the plan says about any needed modifications: “These hours of operation, and corresponding hours of ingress and egress of Shelter residents, may be modified by the recommendation of the Neighborhood-Shelter Action group.” Admittedly, the rest of the sentence reads “to accommodate school schedules” but it does state that it can be modified.

Additionally, the plan states, “Residents will be allowed to stay at the Shelter during the day when the weather is life threatening and other sources of day shelter are not available (such as Thanksgiving and Christmas days.)” Since there is now no other source of day shelter and many winter days in Boulder are life threatening, it appears that providing day shelter is a legitimate possibility.

This year is the next time the management plan will be re-evaluated. The city wants the shelter to provide additional services and has taken away other services in anticipation of cooperation from the shelter. But those agreements have not yet been made. We believe the shelter’s management plan needs to be modified. It is for the good of the entire community.

However, if we return to our metaphor of a dysfunctional family, we as a community are enabling the shelter. Much like the alcoholic in the family system, the city is attempting an “intervention” designed to bring the shelter into cooperation and collaboration with itself, and with other homeless service providers. Will it succeed? Let’s hope, as the lives and well-being of many homeless people hang in the balance.

Joy Redstone is director of the Student & Community Counseling Center at Naropa University. She is a former executive director of [Carriage] House. George Epp is a retired Boulder County sheriff [and board member of Carriage House].

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Over four years ago, I posted this on my blog: Boulder, CO needs a homeless people’s day center open all week. I’ve also discussed so-called best practices for homeless shelters, specifically having shelter / services in ONE location instead of spread out all over town as we see here in Boulder. Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is it! No question about it, and if Greg Harms has to be fired for this to happen then so be it.

Having said this about a year-round day shelter, I remain absolutely opposed to “emergency” overnight shelters in the summertime. A little summer rain never hurt me, nor has it hurt anyone else I know who is homeless in Boulder, but I’ll grant you that a 100-Year Flood is a special circumstance which can be dealt with if and when it occurs again in our lifetimes (NOT likely).

The Primary Goal must be to reduce the numbers of transients using finite resources which should be prioritized for Boulder County’s own homeless men, women, and children. It would seem, however, that the yahoos running things want to KEEP the Alabama arsonists, Florida sex offenders, and other riffraff from all across the nation in our city year-round. NO, HELL NO!

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council)

Utah says it won ‘war on homelessness’, but shelters tell a different story

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, DON’T BE FOOLED BY HOUSING FIRST!

By Max R. Weller

This article from the U.S. edition of the Guardian is one that I missed a year ago, but it paints an entirely different picture from what Housing First advocates would have us believe . . . Excerpt copied below:

A year after Utah officials announced to great fanfare that chronic homelessness had been nearly wiped out, a battle is brewing over the future of the largest shelter in the state.

Not because the Road Home, in Salt Lake City, and its 1,000-plus beds aren’t needed in the Utah capital – but because they are.

On Sunday night, the massive operation housed 1,041 men, women and children on triple bunks in overflow dormitories, in small rooms for desperate families, on so-called medical beds for the sickest and most frail, on yoga mats on the floor.

Some had spent more than 3,000 nights in the jammed facility, one of the nation’s biggest. More than 300 fit the shelter’s definition of chronic homelessness, even if they don’t match the federal government’s guidelines, which the state used to trumpet their good news a year ago on 28 April.

That’s when the state housing and community development division boasted in a press release: “Utah’s Chronic Homelessness Approaching ‘Functional Zero.’ State Achieves Goal Ten Years in the Making.” 

Headlines across the country lauded the Beehive State and its rare statewide Housing First program, which strives to place homeless people in permanent housing before addressing their addiction and mental health issues. Utah had cut the chronic ranks by 91% in the last decade, said Gordon Walker, division director at the time, and there were only 178 chronically homeless people left statewide.

“The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions,” trumpeted the Washington Post. “Utah Reduced Chronic Homelessness by 91%; Here’s How”, cheered NPR. “Utah is winning the war on homelessness with ‘Housing First’ program”, said the Los Angeles Times.

Except no one at the state had bothered to run the announcement by service providers such as the Road Home and Crossroads Urban Center – groups that support the state’s efforts but also work each day with the men, women and children who still have no place to call home.

“Making a statement like that was in direct contrast to what you see on the street,” said Glenn Bailey, executive director of Crossroads, which runs a food pantry and thrift store and fights for economic justice. “It’s an exaggeration. It wasn’t helpful … since the recession, the largest single part of the homeless population that’s grown is families with children, and youth”.

When asked whether he agreed that Utah’s chronic homeless population was nearing “functional zero”, Road Home executive director Matt Minkevitch replied: “I would differ with that perspective.”

(Emphasis above is mine — MRW)

Utah is exhibit A for the most difficult reality of homelessness in the US today: It is possible to work hard, be innovative, make headway – all of which Utah has done – and still be nowhere near “winning the war on homelessness”, or even the fight to put a permanent roof over the most vulnerable . . .

On the coldest, dampest nights of the year, the Road Home cares for upwards of 1,300 people. Nine hundred or so sleep in the cinderblock facility, across the street from a soup kitchen and a day center run by Catholic Community Services. Around 300 are housed in the family shelter in Midvale, about 11 miles away.

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It’s worth reading the entire article. Reminds me of what Housing First advocates here in Boulder, CO are claiming — which is so far out of line with what we can see on the streets that the do-gooders, chief among them Greg Harms of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Betsey Martens of Boulder Housing Partners, have destroyed their credibility among the homeless who don’t really trust the “system” in the first place.

There’s a helluva lot of money in it, however. Or there will be until private donors and government agencies alike wake up to the fact that — in the current system — More Homeless People = More Money. Of course, you have to pitch Housing First as a solution that actually works to continue milking more dollars:

Cash Cow

What about the homeless men, women, and children left out by Housing First? Look close, they’re huddling beneath the trees wrapped in recycled disaster blankets . . .

Meanwhile, the alcoholics in expensive HF apartments are still drinking themselves to death, at a slower rate in a few cases, but heading for an early grave just the same.

BTW, I was in Salt Lake City for about a month back in late 2004, and I stayed at the Road Home. It sounds to me like things are much worse now!

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council).

‘Removal of transgender woman’s testicles in Denver home leads to arrest’

Read the story from the Denver Post here. Copied below in its entirety:

James Pennington (Denver Police photo)

A 57-year-old Denver man has been arrested for allegedly using an Army surgical kit to remove the testicles of a transgender woman.

James Lowell Pennington, who is not a licensed medical professional in Colorado, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of reckless aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The procedure took about 90 minutes and was performed Wednesday at the victim’s Denver apartment. The surgical kit included a scalpel, lidocaine, medical dressing and other medical items.

“The suspect had previously agreed to conduct” the medical procedure on the transgender woman, the affidavit said.

The incident and arrest was first reported by KUSA-TV Friday.

After removing both testicles, Pennington sutured the incision and advised the victim to call 911 if any “complications” developed, the affidavit said. The wife of the victim was present during the procedure and witnessed it.

While changing the dressing “a large amount of blood poured out of the incision” and 911 was called, the affidavit said.

Paramedics responding to the call, at about 2 p.m. Wednesday called police.

The testicles could not be reattached because of the amount of time that passed between the procedure and the victim’s call for help. The victim suffered serious bodily injury and “risk of permanent disfigurement,” the affidavit said.

Pennington was contacted by phone on Thursday and advised to respond to investigators. After being read his Miranda rights and admitting to “completing this surgical procedure” he was arrested.

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BUT — is the victim still considered a “transgender” woman now? I think Boulder Shelter for the Homeless should hire this amateur surgeon to work on the 20 or so rapists and child molesters they’ve taken in . . . BTW, any competent vet can castrate a male animal in just minutes, start to finish; Mr. Pennington is obviously a quack.

— MRW