See the Guest Opinion in the Daily Camera here.
Copied below in its entirety:
By Max Weller
I continue to follow the concept of tiny houses for the homeless as it’s being developed in other, more truly progressive, cities all across America.
Boulder seems to be stuck in the rut of hugely expensive projects serving only a very small fraction of the people living on the streets here. Here are three egregious examples: Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill serving 31 clients at an initial cost of $8 million; Ready to Work at 4747 Table Mesa for 44 clients costing $4.5 million up-front; and Attention Homes 1440 Pine project housing 40 at-risk youth at $12 million before the doors even open.
Do the math: $24.5 million divided by 115 clients (assuming 100 percent occupancy at any given time) works out to $213,043 per unit simply for construction. (There are also the ongoing operating costs at all three facilities to consider.)
Contrast this with the cost of tiny houses built by Occupy Madison in Madison, Wis.: $5,000 per unit, with residents being directly involved in building their homes, contributing to the upkeep of common areas, governing the community, and abiding by a reasonable code of conduct. (Other such tiny house communities can be found with a quick online search.)
For the amount of money already spent by Boulder’s homeless shelter and services industry, a tiny house could have been available to every one of the more than 1,000 homeless single adults in the city. (Naturally, prospective residents should be required to document their presence in Boulder for at least a year or two to be eligible for a tiny house.)
Instead, we have hundreds of men and women literally left out in the cold while government agencies and private nonprofits are patting themselves on the back, even as they continue soliciting more funding from both public and private sources. I call this a travesty of compassion, and I reiterate that Boulder County Coordinated Entry is a sham.
Time to stop pretending to “end homelessness,” as they like to claim is their goal, and look for new leadership committed to innovative ways to actually do so.
Max Weller lived as a homeless man in Boulder and its environs for over a decade. He now resides at a long-term care facility in another city.
In the past, I’ve used letters-to-the-editor and the occasional guest opinion piece (the difference to the Daily Camera is length) as a “shot across the bow” of the corrupt homeless shelter / services industry. Now, I want to do all I can to sink it . . . Kudos to the DC for having the gumption to publish my view in both their print and online editions.
(This post e-mailed to Boulder City Council.)