DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR
By Max R. Weller
I’ve not been a part of the homeless lifestyle in Boulder, CO since moving to a long-term care facility in Thornton, CO last Christmas. I had suffered a minor heart attack in the middle of December, and also had some other health issues like a recurrence of cellulitis in my right leg (first occurred in April, 2016), deep vein thrombosis in the same leg, high blood pressure, and diabetes. All are being treated successfully now with medication and some moderate exercise at a cardiac rehab class I attend three mornings a week.
Right before my forced exit from Boulder, the homeless shelter / services industry there (comprised of both government agencies and private nonprofits) had announced the latest brilliant plan to end homelessness (so they have claimed with each new approach): Boulder County Homeless Systems Coordinated Entry.
I was very skeptical at that time, and have been looking lately for info to judge the effectiveness of this scheme. Yesterday, I find it in a lengthy report published in the Longmont Times-Call newspaper: Boulder County businesses grapple with impacts of homelessness.
Clyde Townsend arranges his belongings in the breezeway off the east 300 block of Main Street in downtown Longmont on Wednesday. As merchants say the homeless are impacting their business, city leaders are looking to new approaches to help those in need, and downtown businesses. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)
A group of four men — surrounded by shopping carts brimming with their personal belongings and shrouded in plastic tarps to protected the cargo from an impending rainstorm — sat in a breezeway that connects Longmont’s Main Street with a parking area behind a row of businesses.
Three appeared to be sleeping, one — who had no interest in speaking with a reporter — was fiddling with a cell phone with his back propped against a breezeway wall.
On the other side of that wall was Don Jensen, owner of Jensen Guitar Company. Behind the counter inside the shop a monitor displayed video feeds from a series of security cameras, one of which is trained on the breezeway.
“They live here in this breezeway,” Jensen said. “They’re here every day — and my (music lesson) students and parents and children walk through there. I get complaints every single day.”
“Without a question it has an impact on the business,” he said, adding that customers have told him that they often park down the block to avoid walking through the breezeway. Jensen said he suspects some customers have stopped coming at all.
“It can’t go on like this,” he said. “Something’s got to change.”
Longmont and the Longmont Downtown Development Association are spending $30,000 this summer to hire Trident Protection Group security guards to patrol downtown and city parks, in part to deal with homeless issues. Andrew, left, and Joe, neither of whom would reveal their last names, are seen walking in downtown Longmont on June 14. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)
A persistent challenge
Despite the strong economy both nationally and locally, hundreds of homeless people live in Boulder County.
While the precise number of homeless people living in any given community can be difficult to pin down, a 2017 survey by the Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative found 600 transients in Boulder County. Because that survey — known as the point-in-time count — is conducted on a single day, it may not necessarily reflect the full scope of the homeless population.
Police in Longmont arrested or cited 855 homeless or transient people in 2017. So far this year, they’ve arrested or cited 393 homeless people, according to data from Deputy Chief Jeff Satur.
A man who identifies himself only as the High Plains Drifter hangs out on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall on Wednesday afternoon. He says he makes his living from donations and lives near the mall. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)
End excerpt. (The man pictured above has been in Boulder for decades, and many readers of this blog will recognize him.)
The article continues at some length, but the bottom line is this: Nothing has changed in Boulder County, CO. Perhaps transients are passing through more quickly (perhaps not), but it’s almost certain that the overall numbers of them are as great or greater than ever before. You can attribute this to the influx of Marijuana Travelers coming here from all across America in recent years, and some even from foreign countries.
Coordinated Entry is a sham. BUT, it’s also without doubt a highly effective means to pump more $$$, from both public and private sources, into the corrupt homeless shelter / services industry. More Homeless People = More Money.
There’s absolutely nothing progressive about this — it’s simply another way for the elites to feel good about themselves.
If I were healthy enough to move back outdoors again, and at this point that hardly seems likely, I would STILL want nothing to do with the shelter / services industry. Who really needs it? I lived as a homeless man in Boulder and its environs for a decade, mostly outdoors year-round with only brief respites indoors (thanks to friends).