Category Archives: Only in Boulder

Transient Migration exhausts Boulder Shelter’s supply of Red Cross disaster blankets

Blankets are a 30/70 blend of recycled wool and man-made fibers

A notice was posted on the north door of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless when I arrived there before 6AM this morning, to the effect that no more disaster blankets would be available for those sleeping outside for the rest of the summer. No mention was made as to whether these cheap but warm blankets (which wear out quickly and can’t be washed) would again be distributed this coming winter season at BSH (October through April).

It’s unfortunate that so many transients will obtain one or more blankets, then throw them away after a single night’s use; you can find them in ditches, on sidewalks, underneath bushes and trees, and littering open fields. The blankets, I mean . . .

— MRW

Residents of other cities in Boulder County react to Mayor Suzanne Jones:

Excerpt from the Daily Camera — 

Several council members expressed a desire to pressure surrounding communities that they alleged ignore the issue of regional homelessness. The council was pleased with Longmont’s outlook, but criticized other county communities for their collective lack of involvement in serving, transitioning and then housing the homeless.

“We need to get them on board,” Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said. “This is a regional issue.”

Mayor Suzanne Jones, whose sister, Elise Jones, is a county commissioner, wondered aloud whether Boulder County officials might not “compel participation” from neighboring communities through withheld funds, or other punitive actions.

“I think it’s time to think about leverage,” Jones added.

A random sampling of the reactions of residents in other cities (besides Longmont) follows:

Okay, the dog is a ringer, but you get the point . . .

— MRW

(This post e-mailed to Boulder City Council.) 

Council member on new homelessness strategy: ‘It’s ridiculous . . .’

HELP BOULDER COUNTY’S OWN HOMELESS PEOPLE, NOT TRANSIENTS!

By Max R. Weller

Read the Daily Camera’s report here: Boulder OKs new homelessness strategy, calls on neighboring cities for backup. Copied below in its entirety:

A homeless man, who didn’t give his name, sleeps in Central Park on Tuesday in Boulder.

A homeless man, who didn’t give his name, sleeps in Central Park on Tuesday in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

The system of services available to the area’s homeless and unstably housed is changing, with a planned shift in priorities that promises greater focus on exits from homelessness and more personalized case management.

But Boulder officials are hoping to get more buy-in from other towns in the county to address this regional problem.

On Tuesday night, the City Council spent several hours reviewing the city’s new “Long-Term Homelessness Strategy,” then voted unanimously to approve the document.

One of the most significant proposals within the strategy — informed in large part by the work of a citizen working group — involves establishing a “coordinated entry and assessment” program.

The city currently has little data on the homeless people they serve, and would work with service providers to collect better information on who they’re serving and what their distinct needs may be.

Under this plan, people deemed “high-need” through the entry process would be referred, often, to transitional housing at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Boulder Human Services Director Karen Rahn said.

Meanwhile, those with smaller needs would be referred to a facility — the location, among other details, to be determined — at what Rahn called a “navigation center,” and ideally given access to short-term beds, plus rental and transportation subsidies.

This entry system would focus on intake of single-adult homeless people. Roughly half of homeless people in this area are members of families with children. Rahn said Boulder would look to include those demographics in the future.

“We want to start with (single adults), get that going, get that fine-tuned,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re starting it right and making the adjustments as we go.”

The council was generally supportive of this and other aspects of the homelessness strategy, though some members expressed concern about potentially committing to coordinated entry at the expense of emergency solutions.

“What I’ve seen as the biggest gap in what we’ve proposed is emergency and walk-up sheltering,” Councilman Aaron Brockett said, echoing concerns recently voiced by homeless people and advocates in Boulder.

“If you have someone who comes into crisis on a particular day, I think we need to be able to offer something to help those people on that day.”

As part of its broad focus on housing solutions, the city’s strategy identifies multiple targets for creation of more exit scenarios.

The strategy calls for five new units of permanent supportive housing in the city every year, and 10 in the county at large. It also calls for 20 new units of “rapid rehousing” in the city for those who’ve fallen homeless, and 50 such units in the county.

Kurt Firnhaber, the city’s director of housing, advised looking at existing housing stock to satisfy those goals, but he acknowledged that the numbers set by the strategy are a “stretch.”

Acknowledging Firnhaber’s point that achieving relatively small numbers of exits annually may well prove a stretch, Councilwoman Jan Burton said that targets of five, 10, 20 and 50 are insufficient.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s got to be much higher than that,” she said. “I mean, wow. That’s not going to put a dent in it.” (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)

Several council members expressed a desire to pressure surrounding communities that they allegedly ignore the issue of regional homelessness. The council was pleased with Longmont’s outlook, but criticized other county communities for their collective lack of involvement in serving, transitioning and then housing the homeless.

“We need to get them on board,” Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said. “This is a regional issue.”

Mayor Suzanne Jones, whose sister, Elise Jones, is a county commissioner, wondered aloud whether Boulder County officials might not “compel participation” from neighboring communities through withheld funds, or other punitive actions.

“I think it’s time to think about leverage,” Jones added.

Several council members said the city should consider, as a temporary homeless housing site, the former Boulder Community Health location on Broadway, which the city owns and plans to redevelop, but sits vacant now.

A consistent theme in discussions about Boulder’s response to homelessness is that the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, on north Broadway, is not as valuable an asset as it could be, in part because of a restrictive neighborhood management plan that limits the number of clients who can be served on a nightly basis.

However, the shelter’s executive director, Greg Harms, indicated that his organization is open to renegotiating the management plan. This would take place through a series of meetings with neighbors, and could result in more bed space and perhaps a greater diversity of services in that facility.

Mayor Suzanne Jones predicted a less-than-smooth process on that front.

“I’m guessing a lot of neighbors are going to be upset,” she said.

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At this point, let me make it clear that NOBODY is talking about prioritizing shelter / services for the homeless folks who actually have been living here in Boulder County; they’re being lumped together with Alabama arsonists and Denver sex offenders. This is a fatal flaw in what is obviously a cobbled-together plan lacking in common sense; the number of transients allowed to migrate to Boulder, CO and become dependent on social services will always be far in excess of available housing . . . YOU MUST SET PRIORITIES BASED ON RESIDENCY AND REQUIRE DOCUMENTATION!

The neighbors have been upset for a long time, Mayor Jones, and it’s mostly due to the many registered sex offenders being harbored by Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. None of my neighbors can recall Greg Harms or anybody else mentioning that rapists and pedophiles would be a part of BSH’s operating plan, and now all the misguided do-gooders want to do is make excuses for it so they can continue to collect $$$ from Colorado DOC for the perverts in so-called parole beds.

It seems to this long-time observer of homelessness that the issue is way too much for the nonprofits and city staff of Boulder, CO to deal with — and this plan seems to satisfy no one at all. Indeed, it’s ridiculous in more ways than Councilwoman Burton meant.

I predict that the Transient Migration will increase, the new Civic Area will once again be overrun by BUMS from outside of Boulder County, the quality of life for residents will suffer, and still more impotent hand-wringing will be the response of all those in authority as well as of those who whine endlessly while claiming to advocate for the homeless.

Boulder Homelessness Czar, Alfred E. Neuman 

‘Renewed tax could fund north Boulder library . . .’

Read the report (which is only speculative at this point, like so much that passes for “news” these days) in the Daily Camera here. Excerpt copied below:

What might a tax renewal fund?

Boulder City Council members are expected to vote to place on the 2017 city ballot a renewal of the “Community, Culture and Safety” tax, which is now being renamed the “Capital Improvements Tax.” Should that renewal question reach voters, there’s a good chance that the public will be deciding on a slate of associated projects recommended by a citizen advisory committee convened by the city.

That committee suggested renewing the tax for five years, and allocating the revenue in the following way:

Relocate Boulder Fire Station No. 3 — $13 million

Renovate Scott Carpenter Pool — $6.2 million

Renovate and expand the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (nonprofit) — $6 million

North Boulder library — $6 million

Police Department/Fire Department radio infrastructure — $6 million

Fourmile Canyon Creek Greenways Improvements — $4.25 million

Facilities maintenance backlog — $3.2 million

Studio Arts Boulder (nonprofit) — $1.75 million

Meals on Wheels (nonprofit) — $1.6 million

Public Art — $1.5 million

Center for ReSource Conservation (nonprofit) — $1.4 million

KGNU (nonprofit) — $1.25 million

Community Cycles (nonprofit) — $822,500

Growing Gardens (nonprofit) — $87,000

Continuing excerpt:

The NoBo Corner Library, at 576 square feet, would be replaced by this new facility, which could be about 15 times larger.

Plans for a full-service branch have been floated in north Boulder since 1988, and have been included in every library master plan since 1995. But the 576-square-foot facility has remained, even as its annual attendance has ballooned to 45,000 — more than much larger cultural institutions such as the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Boulder.

Library and Arts Director David Farnan said he’d like to see the new library — if it is indeed funded and built — stay at Yarmouth Avenue, which is home to the current, smaller branch. But the city would investigate other sites, too.

Families in north Boulder have almost double the number of kids per household than those in other areas of the city, and almost double the rate of non-native English speakers, according to city numbers.

“If you look at a heat map of diversity in Boulder*, the epicenter is right next to that (library) site,” Farnan said. “So I think that’s a nice ingredient for both the city and the community.”

Germaine Johnson and her daughter, Vienne Tillotson, 11, shop for books at the north Boulder library on Monday in Boulder.

Germaine Johnson and her daughter, Vienne Tillotson, 11, shop for books at the north Boulder library on Monday in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

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I nearly always support tax issues for emergency services and libraries . . . HOWEVER, it seems to me that we have too many nonprofits suckling on the taxpayers’ sugar teat in this city! Meals on Wheels does good work, and they probably deserve what is proposed, but Studio Arts Boulder, KGNU (radio station), Community Cycles, and Growing Gardens ought to make their own way if they can or cease to be. And will somebody please point out to me ANY “Public Art” here in Boulder that would make us want to spend another $1.5M? Perhaps a Marcalee Gralapp-inspired display of colorful ceramic dildoes strung up along Pearl Street Mall? NO THANKS!

*BTW, what in the blue blazes is a “heat map of diversity in Boulder”? Is this some term invented by a sociology professor seeking a grant? I want a full-size north Boulder library because it would be convenient for all of us who live in this area!

— MRW 

Bridge House’s ‘Path to Home’ is all about transients gaining a foothold here in Boulder, CO

HELP BOULDER COUNTY’S OWN HOMELESS PEOPLE, NOT TRANSIENTS WHO DRIFT INTO TOWN TO GRAB FREE STUFF!

By Max R. Weller

Read the story in the Daily Camera here: Boulder’s ‘Path to Home’ summer homeless sheltering to begin next month. Copied below in its entirety:

Jaxx Cross panhandles at the corner of Broadway and Canyon Boulevard on Friday afternoon. Cross, who said he is homeless, said he sleeps outside and only

Jaxx Cross panhandles at the corner of Broadway and Canyon Boulevard on Friday afternoon. Cross, who said he is homeless, said he sleeps outside and only on a couple of occasions used a homeless day shelter in town. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)*

Boulder on Friday announced plans for a new summer homeless shelter program called Path to Home, which will debut next month.

With about $84,000 in city funding, the local organization Bridge House will run a nightly shelter for up to 50 adults per night at various faith-based sites. The program will begin July 5 and end Sept. 30.

Clients will be taken in on a “first-come, first-served” basis, the city said, with a one-week limit that Bridge House Executive Director Isabel McDevitt said will be flexible in some cases, depending on progress clients make with case managers who’ll be staffed on-site.

“We are anticipating that people will use more than seven days if they are working on a case plan that requires it,” she said. “We are going to work closely with individuals to monitor those case plans and then grant week-by-week stays depending on progress.

“Given our experience, though, we anticipate that a number of folks will use less than seven days, based on the data we have collected already around service usage of homeless adults.”

That data shows that about 20 percent of the local homeless population accounts for 80 percent of the total nights spent in Boulder shelters annually. Conversely, 80 percent of homeless people in the city will use shelters for less than a week in a given year. (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)

The city and Bridge House have not yet signed a contract, so neither side is prepared to name the faith sites that will be utilized as part of this program.

But Boulder did confirm a number of other details, including that clients will be given local bus tickets and space to store personal belongings.

Bridge House was one of two groups that responded to Boulder’s original request for proposals from those interested in running a summer sheltering program. The other was Boulder Rights Watch, a citizen advocacy group frequently critical of the city’s response to homelessness, and particularly to its urban camping ban.

“Every new bed that’s offered up is fantastic,” said Boulder Rights Watch’s Mike Homner, who also sat on the city’s Homelessness Working Group. “I’m glad that Bridge House is stepping up to the plate and I applaud their efforts, but I just think it’s too little and too late.”

He was referencing the fact that the working group completed its recommendations before the summer sheltering program was announced, somewhat on-the-fly.

“We should have had this plan in place way back when we were talking in the working group,” Homner added. “Any time we give safe places for people to sleep that are legal, I’m all for it. The worry is that it’ll be minuscule compared to what’s on the street.”

The Path to Home program, among other aspects of the city’s evolving response to homelessness, will be the subject of what’s expected to be an in-depth City Council discussion Tuesday night.

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*Mr. Cross, pictured above, won’t benefit by the offer of a one-week stay on the floor of various unnamed “faith sites” referred to in the DC article, in close proximity to unwashed inebriates from Denver and elsewhere across America. In fact, if he’s learned how to survive and be comfortable sleeping outside at night, why wouldn’t he continue to do so? The Homeless Philosopher will for a certainty . . .

It’s a program that can only serve to help integrate Alabama arsonists, Denver sex offenders, and the worst-behaved transients in general into the social services system here in Boulder, CO. Isabel McDevitt and the city staff who worked on the Path to Home scheme know this is true, and as the report points out they have an initial $84,000 as incentive.

On the other hand, it’s completely inadequate to deal with Boulder County residents’ needs on a long-term basis — which was supposed to be the new focus of homeless shelter / services here. WTF?

I would be in favor of a Real Path to Home for homeless people who foolishly come here seeking the Big Rock Candy Mountain — a bus ticket on RTD bound for Denver with a sack lunch to-go. $84,000 would probably serve to move every single bum currently loitering in Boulder’s public areas on down the road, with as much as $75,000 left over! (Allowing $5 per bus ticket and $5 for each sack lunch.) After being dropped off in Denver, they can hitchhike anywhere they please.

What happened to prioritizing shelter / services for Boulder County homeless men and women?

In closing, let me condemn the silly posturing of Boulder Rights Watch — an organization whose members couldn’t find their own butts using both hands. Mike Homner and his clueless sidekick, Darren O’Connor, have NEVER met a scurvy bum they didn’t love. This is what we need to work on ending, but Bridge House’s [Phony] Path to Home will continue to divert resources away from our own homeless residents in need.

Two reminders of transients’ recent misdeeds here:

Sunshine Fire, started by unidentified transients

“Sexually Violent Predator” Kerry Whitfield, from Denver

Grocery shopping on the cheap: A useful life skill for the homeless

THE DO-GOODERS CREED: MORE HOMELESS PEOPLE = MORE MONEY

By Max R. Weller

This morning I decided to focus on purchasing the cheapest foodstuffs I could find at King Soopers on Table Mesa. Here’s what I came up with for slightly less than $10:

Kroger strawberry ice cream (pint) — $1

Cheetos crunchy bag (8 1/2 oz.) — $2

Kroger cole slaw (1 lb.) — $1.29

Kroger orange juice (1 pt.) — $0.99

Bar S bologna (1 lb.) — $1

Kroger colby cheese brick (8 oz.) — $1.67

White enriched bread loaf (24 oz.) $1

With sales tax added, I paid $9.36; savings from using my King Soopers card were $3.04, and so far this year my cash savings total $474.73 with this very easy-to-use tool at the checkout counter. NO FOOD STAMPS FOR ME, and I typically donate the change I get back to whatever charity the store is collecting for; this probably adds up to about $180 in the course of an entire year.

NOBODY on staff at any of Boulder’s homeless shelter / services providers is teaching clients how to manage grocery shopping to get the most bang for their bucks. That’s hardly a surprise, when you realize that they don’t teach homeless adults anything at all, and the Program Director at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless once told me — in front of many other folks in the dayroom there — that the homeless can’t learn anything so it’s pointless to try to teach them.

WTF? If I live to be 100 years of age, I’ll NEVER forget what he said.

This is what your donations are supporting in our worthless local nonprofits. I say it’s much better to give help, financial and otherwise, DIRECTLY to homeless people in need you’ve become acquainted with.

BTW, I’m feeling much more upbeat after deciding NOT to apply for food stamps or the Colorado Old Age Pension. It’s just not worth it to me, when I can do on my own as I’ve outlined above.