Category Archives: Friends of the Homeless Philosopher

More random thoughts 7/14/2018

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP DONATING TO CORRUPT NONPROFITS!

By Max R. Weller

Good news and bad news to report this morning . . .

First, the good: I received a visit yesterday afternoon from my friend Terzah, who brought me snacks, McDonald’s cheeseburgers with fries, and a crime novel to read (I made it through about 140 pages in the evening).

And the bad: My blood pressure reading about an hour ago was much higher than it’s been before in the almost seven months I’ve resided at Happy Haven — 152/86. Typically, thanks to medication, it’s been close to the ideal 120/70. All last night, however, I had to put up with Jabba the Hutt’s nonstop grunting and groaning and his loud TV (a repeat of the Rockies baseball game he had watched earlier in the evening), along with silly conversations he had during several visits from Creepy Male CNA who works overnight. When I finally get rid of Jabba, I’ll have Creepy Male CNA barred from entering my room and lurking near my bed, something that also disturbs my ability to rest.

Image result for jabba the hutt images

“I need my diaper changed!” 

They don’t pay the staff nearly enough to deal with an ornery old devil who is too lazy to get up out of his wheelchair and use the toilet — something he is able to do! I’ve seen it, and the Occupational Therapists here at Happy Haven have worked diligently to get him into shape to do so ALL THE TIME. He would rather lie in bed or sit in his wheelchair and pee in a diaper, then show off his junk to random female CNAs during diaper-changing.

As far as his hog-like grunting both day and night, it was much less when they had him on oxygen, but that has been discontinued because he reached a pulse-oximeter level of 90% (but numbers don’t tell the whole story). I think he’s addicted to opioids, perhaps getting extra “pain pills” from family members who visit, and he seems to be craving dope more frequently as time passes.

I can truly state that contact with my friends enables me to keep a grasp on sanity, and escape into great old movies on TCM or books are quite helpful, too. Thus far, I have resisted the urge to appeal to my friends for the Old Family Recipe:

Image result for W.L. Weller images

Stay tuned, however . . .

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A BUM can dream, and other random thoughts 7/12/2018

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

I continue to watch what is happening to the concept of Tiny Houses for the homeless around the country, and what jumps out to my eye is the antipathy of most of the major players in the homeless shelter / services industry, including both government agencies and private nonprofits which are committed to multimillion-dollar housing projects like those we see in Boulder, CO. 1175 Lee Hill, 4747 Table Mesa, and 1440 Pine have collectively consumed many times more $$$ than would be needed to put each of the 1,000+ homeless people on the streets in this city into a comfortable and safe Tiny House. And these three projects, costing about $24M, serve only 115 individuals! I call it a travesty of compassion.

Read One year in, Madison’s village of tiny houses wins over many neighborhood critics.

About $5,000 per unit

Actually, I’d be happy in an abandoned mine somewhere in the Colorado mountains, a place where my friends might stockpile several years-worth of canned goods, books, and sundries for my solitary existence:

Image result for abandoned mine in colorado images

No homeless ghetto project for the Homeless Philosopher!

Other stuff rattling around in my head:

One of the social workers here at Happy Haven came to see me the other afternoon, as I lounged in a chair outside of the room I continue to share with Jabba the Hutt, and she asked how I was feeling. I told her I’m tired, angry, and depressed because those in authority here refuse to follow through on their announced plan to move Jabba into a private room with an oversize bed. (They should also shove a catheter into him and give him a fentanyl patch, and be sure a working phone is close to his bed so he can call his family members and LIE to them about using his walker to exercise in the hallways all over the facility — LOL!). She told me it will happen soon, but I replied that I’d been hearing that for about three weeks now.

Like social workers in general in my experience, she wants to avoid directly confronting the PROBLEM and prefers to screw with innocent bystanders who suffer the negative impacts of bad behavior. I’ve found this to be true in the Missouri DOC, in various homeless shelter / services providers, and in long-term care facilities. Cactus Jack’s famous remark fits social workers: not worth a bucket of warm spit!

BTW, 320-pound Jabba crashed to the floor a couple of nights ago trying to get into bed, and narrowly missed crushing a CNA who might weigh slightly over 100 pounds. The humongous marshmallow was unhurt, of course, and they used a battery-powered lift to raise him from the floor into bed.

I enjoy bacon for breakfast a couple of times each week, and can order fried eggs anytime I want. I’ve grown tired of oatmeal after six months, and will eat cream of wheat or Cheerios instead. I’ve got Folgers instant coffee I make as soon as I get up, shortly after 6AM. This month’s menu alternative for lunch and dinner is breaded fish and tater tots, which I’ll eat until I grow scales . . . Beats the heck out of chicken, which is the most common protein offered at Happy Haven.

My friend on staff told me yesterday that she has put in her two weeks-notice, and will be moving on to Arizona. She reads this blog, and I want to thank her for her consideration and say that I’ll miss her a lot.

That’s enough for today . . .

Boulder County Coordinated Entry: FAIL

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 LongmonTimes-Call newspaper: Boulder County businesses grapple with impacts of homelessness.

Excerpt follows:

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

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

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.

In Boulder, 673 people had been assessed by the coordinated entry homelessness assistance program between October of 2017 and May of 2018, data shows.

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

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).

My heart attack on Wednesday

By Max R. Weller

When I woke up around 5 on Wednesday morning, I had a sharp pain in the middle of my back and I mistakenly thought it was another kidney stone starting its journey to my bladder. No such luck . . . I went on to Norlin Library on the CU campus, and by early afternoon the pain was in my left arm and both jaws, I was dizzy, couldn’t catch my breath, and had no energy at all. ALL of the classic heart attack indicators except for sweating. I asked the security office to call the paramedics. They quickly arrived and hooked up the EKG, which showed a coronary artery blockage on the right side. I was transported to Boulder Community Hospital with lights and siren activated around 2PM.

I was rolled into an ER suite and it seemed that there were a dozen people there; my cardiologist was Dr. R., who told me that I was having a heart attack and they were taking me upstairs to do a Balloon Angioplasty and Stent procedure.

It was unsuccessful, because the blockage was on the bottom of my heart in a very narrow artery and the catheter couldn’t get in to open things up. That’s the BAD news.

The GOOD news is that the small area damaged is NOT crucial to my heart’s functioning, and I can be treated with high blood pressure meds and blood thinners. (I got a month’s supply for free from Boulder Community Health.)

I was discharged yesterday afternoon, having remained stable for 48 hours. My only pain now is in my right groin where the catheter was inserted. I’m also dizzy, but was told to expect that from the medication. Dr. R. says that he doesn’t expect any further trouble.

Again, I’d like to thank everyone at BCH!

Random stuff 5/16/2017

HELP BOULDER COUNTY’S OWN HOMELESS PEOPLE!

By Max R. Weller

1) I can never predict how things will be in my north Boulder neighborhood, around the corner of N. Broadway and U.S. 36. Yesterday, when I arrived there around 2PM, nobody was around; over the weekend, as many as 10 drunks and dope smokers at once had gathered on the wall in front of the Mexican restaurant. I picked up the overflowing trash bag (provided by ME), replaced it with a new one (also provided by ME), and carried away a bag of free clothes from last Thursday’s giveaway at Deacons’ Closet downtown which had been abandoned.

2) I’ve observed repeatedly over the years in Boulder, CO that Free Stuff has zero value to the BUMS who clamor for it the loudest. Of course, when all of life’s necessities are simply given to you, you then have money for tobacco, alcohol, and drugs . . . Never mind what [Drunken] O’Connor of Boulder Rights Watch and Mike [Humbugger] at Facing Homelessness Boulder tell you about “compassion” — both of ’em are on big ego trips, but in fact their efforts have backfired on the homeless population they claim to “advocate” for.

This is what we could have much more of year-round, if more homeless shelter / services are given to literally ANYBODY who shows up in our city! 

3) I’ve been having a problem with the thieving prairie dogs at my campsite coming over to my side of the fence and grabbing the bread I put out for the field mice. A couple of the filthy varmints got their comeuppance on Sunday, however: They sneaked over once again, passing close by a tiny rabbit that would have fit easily into the palm of my hand, and Mama Rabbit (scarcely any bigger than a prairie dog herself) came charging out of the vegetation (where she’d been watching, no doubt) with her ears laid back . . . The prairie dogs turned tail and ran back to their area, with Mama Rabbit in pursuit. When they disappeared underground, she was satisfied and came back to her spot near me. Her young one was in no danger from the fleabitten varmints, but it just tickled me no end to watch this encounter.

4) What is it that Dems expect to happen? Hillary will be declared the winner of last November’s election because a foreign power (in this case, Putin’s Russia) tried to influence the outcome? Happens in every election, you dolts!

5) Because it was on sale at King Soopers on Table Mesa, I enjoyed this sweet treat for breakfast:

It was either this now or a chocolate shake from McDonald’s this afternoon (to go along with the double cheeseburgers my friend will deliver to me). For $3, the 14 oz. Haagen-Dazs is about the same price! Wish it was on sale more often.

HAVE A GOOD DAY, EVERYONE!

NO, HELL NO! ‘Boulder seeks partner on temporary shelter for [worst-behaved transients]’

HELP BOULDER COUNTY’S OWN HOMELESS MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN — NOT THE BUMS FROM ELSEWHERE!

By Max R. Weller

Read the report from the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:

Xander King makes jewelry at the Boulder Main Public Library on Wednesday. King is homeless and a self-described traveler who has been in Boulder for the

Xander King makes jewelry at the Boulder Main Public Library on Wednesday. King is homeless and a self-described traveler who has been in Boulder for the last month and a half (emphasis is mine — MRW). He said he was once ticketed in Boulder for camping on a cold and snowy day when he was keeping warm in his sleeping bag. “I thought that was a little uncalled for,” he said. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

Boulder is prepared to partner with an outside organization on a temporary summer sheltering program for the homeless, the city announced this week.

A request for proposals describes a desire to pair with groups “with experience in homeless sheltering to plan and implement a temporary shelter or authorized camping program, and manage all aspects of a shelter or camp operation, including start-up, staffing, program rules and oversight, client services, security, sanitation, liaison with the city and shut down.”

Officials said preference would be given to “building-based” shelter sites, but that outdoor sites could be considered, too.

The city is hoping this partner will emerge in the next two weeks, roughly, in time to get something up and running between about June 1 and Sept. 30. As of Wednesday, no suitors had reached out, according to Zach McGee, a city spokesman.

The timing of the announcement is significant: Boulder, which has an urban camping ban in place, said on April 28 that it’d be spending more than $300,000 to increase police patrols while also increasing the frequency of homeless encampment sweeps.

This exacerbated an existing challenge to enforcement. Boulder seeks to clean up downtown, among other areas, by reducing urban camping — but with walk-up sheltering closed during warmer months, there aren’t any legal ways to sleep for homeless people not already entered into a transitional program.

Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Shoemaker highlighted this dilemma in a comment last August.

“We need to come up with a summer shelter solution that gives an alternative for people to have a place to sleep,” he said. “Then, if you choose to sleep along (Boulder Creek), it’s no longer, ‘I have nowhere to sleep.’ It’s, ‘I chose not to go where I could sleep.'”

That idea was not supported by a City Council majority, and was not included in a slate of programmatic changes that became effective May 1.

So why is Boulder soliciting proposals now, two weeks after taking the first steps toward a systemic shift in homeless services, and just a few days before the council convenes for a Tuesday study session on the city’s long-term approach?

“In hindsight,” Mayor Suzanne Jones said Wednesday, “it might have been choreographed better.”

The announcement of newfound city interest in a potential summertime shelter was the result of conversations between Shoemaker, Councilman Sam Weaver, staff of Boulder homeless service providers, city Human Services Director Karen Rahn and City Manager Jane Brautigam.

“The chain of events has caused a number of people to say that we do need to provide options, and as a result the city manager has presented or is attempting to provide another option to us,” Shoemaker said, when asked about the timing of the request for proposals.

“Whether it comes to fruition as an option because someone bites on it or whether we as a council ultimately decide to follow through because someone agrees to do it remains to be seen.”

Brautigam was out of the office on Wednesday and Rahn could not be reached for an interview.

McGee said the city is “intending to support” the potential summer shelter financially, but added that no specific spending limits have yet been identified, as no organizations are yet considered serious candidates.

The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless on north Broadway is one site, though, that might seem a prime candidate, but can already be ruled out.

That facility will have about 40 unused beds every night this summer, but the shelter’s original management plan requires that no walk-up services will be provided during the emergency sheltering offseason — a concession to neighbors.

It’s this quandary that partially informed the city’s decision to seek out another city facility, the East Boulder Community Center, as the possible site of cold-weather emergency sheltering for this summer. The north Boulder shelter could provide such a service, under a different management plan.

However, if an organization comes forward to partner with the city on a summertime shelter, there will presumably be no need for a separate shelter at the East Boulder Community Center for nights with bad weather.

——————————————————————————— 

I have never met Karen Rahn, described above as the city Human Services Director, but I’ve NEVER trusted her one bit; it’s always seemed to me that she is way too sympathetic with those apologists / enablers of the worst-behaved transients who have made our city FUBAR.

I’m sincerely hoping that this gesture is no more than a sop to the crybabies at Boulder Rights Watch . . . Goodness knows that our main goals should be: 1) TO PRIORITIZE SHELTER / SERVICES FOR HOMELESS RESIDENTS OF BOULDER COUNTY; and 2) to move the Travelers, who have no respect for this community (why else would they pee and poop in Boulder Creek?), on down the road far, far away. Or at least as far as Denver.

Clearly, the group founded by convicted rapist Jim Budd — Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO) — is finished forever. Good riddance!

Given the fact that recent heavy rains have soaked all of my camping gear, and there may not be a chance to dry it all out today, I’m considering retreating to a motel room tonight. BTW, this is a situation in which I could really have used that $350 some thief on the staff at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless stole from my locker there. I can still afford it, however, and the lure of a Real Bed in a private room is strong . . .

Random stuff 5/10/2017

DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

1) Letter-to-editor of the Daily Camera by Melanie Holden of Boulder, copied below in its entirety:

From what I’ve learned from Daily Camera articles, if I ever don’t want to be stuck living on the streets, all I have to do is be deemed a “dangerous sex offender” and agencies will make sure I have a roof over my head and a bed. Doesn’t seem fair that law-abiding homeless people get less support.

Melanie, I’d be thrilled to simply have a 10′ x 10′ space to park my own Tiny Coroplast House. I’d pay for the materials and build it myself. It would be good to have access to a port-a-potty nearby, and this leads us to the concept of a Tiny House Community. One thing I’d NEVER need is a bunch of “case managers” micro-managing my life — because McDonald’s wouldn’t hire them with their worthless degrees in sociology.

My house

Tiny House Community

2) Mayor Suzanne Jones of Boulder is one of the city officials who has allowed the homeless shelter / services industry here to screw things up so very badly; we’re spending many more millions of $$$ than ever, but have many more people living on the streets. She’s also the executive director of the bankrupt “nonprofit” Eco-Cycle, which only now is subject to a competitive bidding process after 40 years of crooked politics behind the scenes (Suzanne’s twin sister, Elise Jones, is a Boulder County Commissioner):

Will NEVER be invited to visit my tiny house.

3) When I got off of the northbound SKIP bus at Broadway & Canyon earlier to walk over to our Main Library, I saw several transients standing around in the Bandshell, and one was passed out on stage. Always anxious to be of help, I yelled to them: “Get that f***ing drunk out of our Bandshell! Put a boot in his a**!” Satisfied with my good deed, I proceeded on my way to 1001 Arapahoe.

4) Peak 2 Peak Forest Watch now has over 700 members, dedicated to stopping the BUMS from ruining our forests! Compare that to a paltry 181 members for Boulder Rights Watch, the apologists / enablers who support the worst-behaved transients in Boulder County. ROTFL!

5) I enjoy the rains overnight; as I’ve mentioned before, the patter of raindrops on my tarp lulls me to sleep . . .