This goes to show that even I can write a politely-worded missive on a subject I feel so strongly about . . .
Mirabai Nagle, second from right in front row.
Boulder’s homeless shelter / services industry
Dear Ms. Nagle,
I read the account of Tuesday night’s Council meeting in the Daily Camera. I want to thank you for asking questions and engaging with citizens who attended; I have no doubt that certain other Council members don’t like it when the Sacred Cow of city policy on homelessness is scrutinized by anyone.
To me, city policy is exactly the reverse of what it should be. Emergency sheltering with supportive services MUST be the priority in wintertime, but otherwise use of resources should NOT be encouraged in view of the fact that a sufficient number of housing units doesn’t currently exist (it’s a deficit in the hundreds, and adding 30 or 40 more units per year will do very little). I say this as a homeless resident of Boulder, CO and its environs since early 2008, one who does NOT use any of the taxpayer-funded benefits I could apply for and receive NOR being a daily visitor to the many Free Giveaway venues run by private nonprofits. The more that’s done by the city to “address homelessness” the more homeless people we have on our streets.
In my own estimation, my life is as good or better than that of anyone who is caught up in the web of the social services system here. BTW, the transients who have no ties to Boulder County comprise more than half of the homeless population in our county. What they need most — to be blunt — are bus tickets back to wherever they came from, whether that’s elsewhere in Colorado or another state. Services for them will be available there, on a par with what is offered here.
Boulder, CO can NOT save the world and needs to change its focus to helping our own homeless residents (valid photo ID with local address and proof of at least one year’s residency required).
Thanks for your time,
Max (Homeless Philosopher)
In the interest of full disclosure, I do frequently shower in the morning at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and also maintain a small locker there. However, I think my cash donations to BSH and its street outreach Boulder County Cares in the past have covered the cost of hot water (I supply my own toiletries) and space. As things stand now, I’ll be one of the morning services visitors banned by a proposed change in shelter management policy beginning next season.