Greedy homeless shelter / services industry pleads poverty


By Max R. Weller

Read the sob story in the Times-Call here.

Excerpt copied below:

Clyde Townsend arranges his belongings in a downtown Longmont breezeway in June.

Clyde Townsend arranges his belongings in a downtown Longmont breezeway in June. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

It’s clear, after the city of Longmont’s second community conversation regarding homelessness, that people have no shortage of ideas for addressing the homelessness crisis. But, amid funding cuts at the state and federal level what service providers say they need most is money.

“There isn’t a lot of money out there for this,” said Edwina Salazar, executive director of Our Center, a homeless outreach center based in Longmont. “A lot of community members are complaining about the homeless that are on the streets, but it’s going to take their agreement to create more funds to address the issue. A lot of the funding that’s been cut over the years is from the federal level and to come up with other solutions is really difficult. I know there are some jurisdictions on the West Coast that are creating new taxes, but it’s going take to buy in from the whole community.”

The article drones on with the usual drivel we hear from the usual suspects, who all live by the creed More Homeless People = More Money, and therefore have zero incentive to “end homelessness” as they frequently claim is their goal — even as they solicit more $$$ from both public and private sources.

It’s clear that what they’re doing isn’t working, and common sense dictates that new leadership willing to acknowledge that a minimal level of emergency shelter / services is the best that can be done for the chronically homeless is urgently needed . . . Believe me, I know from firsthand observation over the course of a decade living in Boulder and its environs as a homeless man that this lifestyle is a CHOICE, and those who choose such an alternative to the mainstream of society are NOT interested in being “reformed” by the do-gooders who abound in Boulder County, CO.

My response to this T-C piece, which I’ve submitted as a letter-to-the-editor, follows:

Boulder County’s homeless shelter / services industry has spent $24.5M in recent years to house just 115 homeless individuals. This includes $8M+ for 31 residents at Housing First at 1175 Lee Hill in Boulder, $4.5M+ for 44 clients in Ready to Work at 4747 Table Mesa in Boulder, and $12M+ for 40 at-risk youth to be housed at Attention Homes 1440 Pine project in Boulder. (These are up-front building costs only, and do not include ongoing operating costs which are substantial.) I’m not including over $4M for Longmont’s new OUR Center. Clearly, money is no object, and it flows like springtime’s snowmelt from both public and private sources into government agencies and private nonprofits alike. Now they have the sheer gall to plead poverty in the newspaper? FIRE ‘EM ALL, and let’s start over!

Max R. Weller

Addendum: More info on Executive Director Edwina Salazar and Longmont, CO’s OUR Center here.

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council, and I’ve also been in touch with Longmont’s Mayor and City Council.)

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