Monthly Archives: July 2017

‘Formerly homeless residents move into crowdfunded tiny home community’

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

Denver’s crowdfunded tiny home project has run into more than a few road blocks, but on July 21, fourteen residents moved into their new community and on Saturday they invited reporters in to see it.

Eleven 8-foot by 12-foot homes and a bathing house fill the Urban Land Conservancy-owned property at 38th and Walnut streets. There are also several tables covered by three white pop-up canopies, which are a temporary solution for the missing food-prep and living-room space.

Terese Howard from Denver Homeless Out Loud said the more permanent, cylindrical building should be there any day now, but was delayed because it needed additional permits.

Saturday, after a week of settling in, a conference was held to thank those who had made the completion of the project possible and also to show off the much-anticipated community.

“We didn’t build this village because we like cute tiny houses,” said Howard. “We built this here because we have an extreme housing crisis. Thousands and thousands who don’t have a place to call home.”

Each of tiny homes has a painted grey exterior, wooden steps, a small stoop and a white door. Inside is a single room with two windows and hardwood flooring.

Howard said to view the community as if it were a dispersed house and view each of the homes as bedrooms.

Colorado Village Collaborative is a community-based organization founded by DHOL, Beloved Community Mennonite Church and an aggregation of other organizations and volunteers.

For Amanda McDougald it was almost serendipity. She left drugs, homelessness and an abusive relationship in Killeen, Texas, four months ago to start over in Denver.

“It’s a huge blessing, I’m so grateful to have everything,” she said. “I was literally woken up Friday morning being kicked by cops because I was ‘trespassing’ by sleeping somewhere that said no loitering. And that same evening I was moving into my own home. I have keys and a house and a bed, I’m so grateful.”

The village is not out of the woods yet, however. This is a 180-day pilot project to establish proof of concept. ULC granted a six-month lease of the property for $1 per month.

During that time, they will be scrutinized by the city to make sure that a safe and habitable environment has been established for the residents. After sixth months, the homes will hopefully be unbolted from their cinder blocks and placed permanently on soil.

“Our sixth month countdown began last Friday,” said Nathan Hunt, the Program Director for Economic Justice with Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. “We have a few different (permanent) locations in mind. From here we will figure out a location that works best for the residents for transportation and other factors.”

The lucky 14 were chosen based on risk and need. DHOL chose six out of 60 applicants through an interview process and then let those six chose the remaining residents.

“People who cannot or will not, for good reasons, stay in shelters,” said Hunt, describing the residents: “Trans people … the LGBTQ community in general, people who work odd hours  … people with anxiety and other disorders.”

Other than meeting a risk factor, the applicants need to be currently homeless and commit to the basic non-negotiable rules: No violence, weapons, illegal drugs, discriminatory or oppressive behavior. They also must participate in maintenance of the community.

While 54-year-old Byron Steele is grateful for a place to call home, he said that the homeless problem will still continue to balloon out of control if the real issue, which he said is mental illness, is addressed.

“I’m not here to fake the funk.”  he said.

“I’ve never in my life seen so many 19-20 year olds walking around talking to themselves. To control homelessness you have to get control over mental health.”

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We’ll see how this works out, but it seems to me they’ve chosen some sketchy folks who may be unwilling to behave decently. This is the same misguided philosophy we see in Housing First projects, such as 1175 Lee Hill in Boulder, for chronically homeless single adults — with a history of substance abuse and a dual diagnosis of mental illness. It’s a FAILURE!

Those with significant mental health issues need 24/7 care in a secure psychiatric facility, and it’s ridiculous to think otherwise. Nor are tiny homes suitable for registered sex offenders (who belong in a halfway house with others like them, far away from potential victims), or those needing inpatient treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction (lots of programs out there accepting all kinds of insurance), or the physically handicapped (assisted living centers are designed for them), or the developmentally disabled (group homes with adequate supervision have always been the best option).

There’s no shortage of homeless men and women who are ready, willing, and able to be independent and productive members of any Tiny House Community.

— MRW 

WTF? I remember when Boulder Shelter did NOT allow the homeless to loiter on their property overnight!

Unless you managed to get an available bed, you were out of luck — NEVER were you permitted to sleep outside the facility.

See the story in the Daily Camera here: Boulder police: ‘Sexually violent predator’ will stay near homeless shelter. Copied below in its entirety:

Michael Smith

Michael Smith (Courtesy photo)

Boulder police announced on Friday that a man deemed to be a “sexually violent predator” will be “staying by a ramp that is on the east side” of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.

Michael Smith, 48, has a conviction out of Rhode Island for second-degree child molestation, according to court records, and a 2015 conviction for sexual contact without consent.

Smith originally registered with Boulder police in August 2016 and has since lived along Broadway between Violet Avenue and Lee Hill Drive, in an abandoned building east of Arapahoe Avenue and 55th Street and north of the golf course and at 2995 Eagle Way #24.

Smith is required to notify police whenever he moves.

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It just never ends, does it? Ask yourself this question, how do the many adult survivors of sexual crimes who are temporarily staying at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless feel about predators lurking both inside and outside a facility which bills itself as a safe shelter? Ain’t nothin’ safe about it!

— MRW

‘A vodka bottle covered in blood was also found at the scene’

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!

By Max R. Weller

Well, we may as well acknowledge the obvious: The so-called homeless community in Boulder, CO is awash with violence — and many of the victims of the relatively few predators are homeless themselves.

Most of these homeless-on-homeless crimes are never reported, for a variety of reasons including distrust of the police and others in authority. So, for the majority of us things are actually MUCH WORSE than you’d think (based only on a few high-profile incidents).

Let’s be brutally frank: If there was a similar crime wave targeting Boulder’s yuppies the City Council would have directed the police to run the criminal element out of town a long time ago. But, we victims are just homeless men and women — some of us with sketchy pasts. Does anybody really give a damn?

To the homeless shelter / services industry, we’re only pawns to be exploited for ever-increasing $$$ from both public and private sources. MORE HOMELESS PEOPLE = MORE MONEY and vice versa.

For all those who may be unaware of how homelessness has become BIG BUSINESS, please educate yourselves . . .

How many millions of $$$ have to be spent before we all realize that it’s NOT doing anything to reduce the numbers of homeless people on the streets in Boulder County, CO? What’s good for the nonprofits isn’t reaching the folks who are supposed to be getting help.

I don’t know the answer, but I know failure when I see it.

(Just to be clear — I’m not being supported by the social services system nor by private nonprofits.)

And as far as I’m concerned, the benighted yahoos in groups like Boulder Rights Watch are worse than useless, because they (perhaps unintentionally) give aid and comfort to the small minority of predators. When will they start to “advocate” for the large majority of us who are peaceable and law-abiding?

‘Boulder police: homeless man stabbed, beaten with stick’

See the full story in the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety, including photos of the suspect and two victims:

James Craig Dobson appears in court at the Boulder County Jail on Wednesday.

James Craig Dobson appears in court at the Boulder County Jail on Wednesday. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

Boulder police believe that the homeless man assaulted on the corner of 27th Way and Baseline Road early Tuesday morning was stabbed and beaten with a stick, and doctors do not expect him to survive his injuries.

James Craig Dobson, 56, has been arrested in the assault of Roland Dequina, 43, and Jeffrey Cross, 50. Dobson faces charges of attempted murder and assault, but an arrest affidavit released Wednesday indicates the case “may turn into a homicide,” as doctors said Dequina is not expected to survive.

Dequina remained in critical condition Wednesday, while Cross was listed in good condition.

Roland Dequina

Roland Dequina (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office / Courtesy photo)

Jeffrey Cross

Jeffrey Cross (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office / Courtesy photo)

Dobson made his first appearance in court on Wednesday, and was given a $100,000 bond by Boulder County Judge Karolyn Moore. Boulder Deputy District Attorney Tim Johnson said the seriousness of the assault and the fact that he was homeless warranted the high bond.

“We believe he is not only a risk to the community but is a high risk to fail to appear in court,” Johnson said.

Moore then initially scheduled Dobson for a filing of charges on Friday, but at the request of Johnson and Dobson’s attorney, Amanda Bailhache, set him for a filing of charges on Aug. 2.

According to the arrest affidavit, Dobson, Cross and Dequina — all three of whom are homeless — had been hanging out and drinking overnight Monday and had been arguing throughout the night.

At 10 p.m. Monday, an officer responded to the area and found Dobson sitting near an intoxicated Cross, who was lying on the ground in the fetal position and bleeding. When taken to the hospital, Cross said he got the injuries when he “took a digger,” and Dobson also denied that anything happened.

Later in the night, three people bicycling through the same area at about 2:30 a.m. found Dequina lying in a pool of blood and called 911.

First responders were unable to find a pulse and began performing CPR. Doctors later said Dequina had a skull fracture, brain bleed, lacerations on his face and bruising and abrasions on his chest and arms. Medical staff told police at the time they did not expect Dequina to survive. (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)

According to the affidavit, police found Dobson at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday and took him in for questioning after hearing he, Dequina and Cross had been together overnight and arguing.

Police said Dobson was “difficult to follow” and “disjointed,” but said he admitted he was with Dequina. Dobson told police that Dequina threatened him with a stick, so he punched him in the face and then picked up his own stick to defend himself.

Investigators said Dobson’s clothes had blood stains on them and also had what appeared to be a splinter on his left hand.

Police at the scene recovered a branch that was 12 to 18 inches long and appeared to have been broken off a tree. Investigators said that the sharp end of the branch had blood on it and was consistent with Dequina’s injuries.

A vodka bottle covered in blood was also found at the scene. (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)

Dobson’s criminal history includes arrests for obstructing a police officer, criminal mischief, trespassing, theft and burglary.

Dequina also has a criminal history in Boulder County that includes arrests for aggravated robbery, menacing, assault and theft, while Cross is a registered sex offender.

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A rumor going around in Boulder Shelter for the Homeless this morning is that one or more of these homeless men had been smoking methamphetamine on the night in question, and that’s certainly believable for Mr. Dobson given the extreme violence he displayed.

I understand that Mr. Dequina was formerly a resident of Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill. I’ll refrain from speculating on what might have led him to leave that highly-touted and very expensive program; however, as things turn out it was obviously of no benefit to him whatsoever.

Although I don’t know any of the three personally, I’ve seen all of them many times during my years here in Boulder.

What is Boulder City Council going to do about the increasingly dangerous climate that hundreds of homeless people are living in every day and every night? None of these three were angels, but you must remember two things:

1) Most of us are peaceful and law-abiding and trying to survive by our wits; and

2) Very few incidents of homeless-on-homeless crime are reported to police, so things are actually FAR WORSE than you might think, based only on the high-profile crimes we read about.

A prediction: The self-styled homeless advocates will either be MIA as far as speaking out on this case or they will try to exploit it in a renewed call for still more homeless shelter / services. BUT, the facts are that none of these three homeless men would have been accepted into any shelter with reasonable standards for behavior, and the ongoing Transient Migration to our city will continue to overwhelm available services no matter how much money is spent.

— MRW 

Sow the seeds of inappropriate compassion, this is what you reap

Read the updated story in the Daily Camera here: Boulder police arrest suspect in 2 beatings; 1 victim suffers ‘grave injuries’ . . . Copied below in its entirety:

Boulder police arrested a homeless man on suspicion of attempted murder and assault after they say he beat two men four hours apart late Monday and early Tuesday — leaving one victim hospitalized in critical condition.

James Craig Dobson, 56, was booked into the Boulder County Jail on Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of second-degree attempted murder and first-, second- and third-degree assault.

James Craig Dobson

James Craig Dobson (Boulder Police Department)

Police initially were dispatched to the corner of 27th Way and Baseline Road at 10:30 p.m. Monday on a report of a 50-year-old man who had been attacked and sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.

That man was transported to Boulder Community Health’s Foothills Hospital, and police were unable to locate a suspect.

Police were called out to that same location at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and found a 43-year-old man with “grave injuries” that police said appeared to be consistent with a beating.

That victim, who police said was homeless, also was transported to the Foothills Hospital, where he remained in critical condition as of Tuesday evening.

Neither victim has been identified publicly by police.

Through interviews, police identified Dobson as a person of interest in both cases. Police initially didn’t know where Dobson was, but said at 10 a.m. Tuesday that they’d located him.

After interviewing Dobson, police announced his arrest shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. He is due to make a first appearance in court at the Boulder County Jail today.

Court records show Dobson has a lengthy criminal history in Boulder County, including arrests for obstructing a police officer, criminal mischief, trespassing, theft and burglary.

The area where the assaults occurred is frequented by panhandlers and transients. Police said the victims and Dobson knew each other, and are all believed to be homeless. (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)

Police have not released any information on a possible motive for the attacks.

The area on Tuesday was cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape, and multiple officers and evidence technicians could be seen placing evidence markers next to what appeared to be a pool of blood and items in the dirt area off the side of the road.

The on-ramp to Denver-bound U.S 36 from Baseline Road and the eastbound turn lane of 28th Street onto Baseline were both closed for hours Tuesday morning while Boulder police investigated.

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What do our homeless advocates think about this dangerous part of Boulder, one I’ve taken care to avoid in the 9+ years I’ve lived here as a homeless man? Are they concerned by a few violent homeless men preying on others? Apparently, not at all!

See: Boulder McDonald’s chills some with closure affecting homeless from the DC in early 2014. Excerpt follows:

(Jeremy Papasso / DAILY CAMERA)

A McDonald’s restaurant on Baseline has received several complaints after allegedly barring homeless customers from entering the restaurant last week.

McDonald’s, 2920 Baseline Road, usually opens its inside dining area at 6 a.m. Yet a recorded phone call between the restaurant’s manager, Manuel Lopez, and a customer named Darren O’Connor, showed that the dining area stayed closed on Thursday morning, apparently to keep out customers who appeared to be homeless.

McDonald’s owner Aaron Holland said the closure was not meant to discriminate, but was only intended to give the understaffed location a chance to catch up after getting a larger-than-average crowd so early in the morning.

Yet in the recording, Lopez said the closure allowed the restaurant to cut down on customer complaints.

“We have a lot of homeless guys coming up, and if it’s just a couple of them, we usually let them in because it’s cold. When there is a lot of them, we have to do something because a lot of the customers complain about it,” Lopez said in the recording.

O’Connor, who recorded the phone conversation and posted it on YouTube after learning that only the drive-through was open, said the restaurant was unfairly discriminating against the homeless.

“You are clearly discriminating against our homeless community, who is coming in with money to buy food and drink, and you’re closing the doors,” O’Connor told Lopez in the recording . . .

However, this FAKE complaint wasn’t even supported by our local ACLU! The story concludes:

Judd Golden of the Boulder County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said private businesses have broad discretion to refuse service so long as they aren’t discriminating based on race, gender or another protected class. For example, they can discourage customers who spend very little money and take up space for a very long time.

Well, duh!

JUST ONCE, I’D LIKE TO HEAR DARREN O’CONNOR AND THE OTHER ENABLERS HOLD THE WORST-BEHAVED TRANSIENTS ACCOUNTABLE.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to condemn these vicious felonies; that might cause people to rethink donating to Boulder’s homeless shelter / services industry.

— MRW