See the report in the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:
A homeless man, who declined to give his name, takes a nap in his sleeping bag near Boulder Creek in the downtown Civic Area on May 3. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)
Boulder has accepted Bridge House’s proposal to provide temporary summer homeless sheltering, but the organization is not sure it will have the service up and running by the June 1 date the city originally had targeted.
City officials sent out a call for proposals earlier this month as they sought to partner with a group to implement a homeless sheltering or camping program from June through September.
Two groups submitted letters of intent, and Boulder chose to go with Bridge House’s proposal partly because of the organization’s experience with providing similar homeless programs, and its contacts.
“Bridge House has been offering homeless services in Boulder for 20 years,” said Isabel McDevitt, Bridge House’s executive director. “We have a very deep understanding of the population and a really innovative style in terms of creating programs and employing best practices.”
Boulder officials also said Bridge House’s proposal included plans for building-based sheltering, which was something they’d said the city would prefer over an outdoor camping proposal.
This comes after the city said it would spend more than $300,000 to increase police patrols and up the frequency of homeless encampment sweeps along Boulder Creek and in the downtown area.
“I think the city and many stakeholders are focused on a long-term plan, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have immediate needs,” McDevitt said. “Homeless folks have needs during the summer as well as winter.”
Zach McGee, a spokesman for Boulder, said Bridge House and the city have not yet selected which actual buildings will be used.
“The next step of this process is to investigate these options further with them,” McGee said. “They have had conversations with some of the faith-based communities they have worked with.”
McDevitt said that while Bridge House has not received any commitments yet, she don’t foresee it being an issue.
“The timeline for the (request for information) and the subsequent letters was very tight, but we’re confident we can find a location based on our relationships,” McDevitt said. “We just haven’t gotten anything 100 percent confirmed.”
Because no sites have been selected and this is the first time Boulder has taken on a program like this, McGee said the city is not sure how much it will cost.
“It’s really not something we’ve offered before,” McGee said. “It’s all dependent on what services they are able to provide and what locations they will use. We’re trying to determine the cost and see what the capacity is in the community for supporting this type of program.”
McGee said the city still hopes it will have the temporary sheltering program up and running by June 1. The program would run through Sept. 30.
“Barring any issues, problems or delays that is still what we’re working toward,” McGee said. “Based on that short timeline, they are going to be really aggressive with it.”
But McDevitt was not as optimistic.
“I think Bridge House is well suited to get up and running as soon as humanly possible, but I do think it will take a bit longer,” McDevitt said. “There is still quite a bit to negotiate with the city of Boulder just around the budget and how this fits into the long-term plan.”
And while this is a temporary sheltering program, McDevitt said the city and Bridge House should use it as an opportunity to try to test out new practices with building-based shelters that could help in the long run.
“This is not just a stop-gap for the summer,” McDevitt said. “We envision something consistent with the city’s long-term plan that will pilot a new and different approach toward sheltering.”
McDevitt said that included doing vulnerability assessments on people who come into the shelter and offering services to help them find stable housing.
“This is an opportunity to put forth a model that can address needs year-round,” McDevitt said. “We want to move the needle on some systemic changes around how we address homelessness in Boulder.”
Seems to me that the “fix” was in from the get-go, to have Bridge House put into a position to coddle the worst-behaved transients from all across America. Folks, we’re SCREWED! I hope I’m wrong, but I trust Isabel McDevitt about as far as I can pick her up and toss her . . .