Boulder County Homeless Systems Collaborative info

Click on the link and see if you can understand this Byzantine plan, which is supposed to be already underway.

As for the Homeless Philosopher, I intend to continue steering clear of government bureaucrats and private do-gooder organizations alike, as much as I possibly can. The thought of staying at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless on a more-or-less permanent basis is so depressing that slitting my own throat seems a better end. And with 1,600 unique individuals (so we’re told) seeking shelter / services in Boulder in a year — but only 160 beds available at bedbug-infested BSH and maybe 30 new housing units coming each year in homeless ghetto projects — most poor souls are going to continue living on the streets.

The only thing for certain is that MORE MONEY will be squandered to little or no effect.

Thank goodness I don’t have to be screened by amateur headshrinkers to get a shower every morning and keep a small locker for my meager possessions . . .

— MRW

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‘Neighbors give mixed feedback on proposed changes at north Boulder homeless shelter’

Nothing will change for those of us hardy outdoor-types who only use Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to shower in the morning and keep a small locker (as I do) or to eat breakfast (as I might do 2 or 3 times a year). As I’ve often said, BSH could close its doors permanently and I’d easily make other arrangements; talk among homeless clients there is that it will shut down if and when this latest “change” fails.

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

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless Executive Director Greg Harms speaks with residents during a "Good Neighbor" meeting hosted by the Boulder

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless Executive Director Greg Harms speaks with residents during a “Good Neighbor” meeting hosted by the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless on Monday at the Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

A proposed shift in daily operations at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless has inspired mixed emotions — including concern, frustration and optimism — among the north Boulder neighbors who live near the facility.

During an informal meeting Monday evening at the Shining Mountain Waldorf School, the dozens of people who attended were asked to offer feedback on the proposal, which calls for more intense use of the shelter and service to a different level of clientele.

Under the drafted changes, the shelter, on north Broadway, would open 160 beds year-round for homeless people classified as having “moderate” or “high” needs. Those people would be allowed to stay at the shelter during the daytime, whereas now they are sent away in the mornings and welcomed back in the evenings.

The shelter would no longer offer walk-up and night-by-night service, shifting instead toward long-term service that would allow some clients to stay for more than a year, potentially.

Additionally, the shelter would do away with sobriety requirements.

Many are worried there will be more homeless activity in north Boulder now, and wish the shelter would be more respectful of their concerns.

“Shelter is only having this meeting because city forced them to,” read one piece of feedback, placed on a wall of sticky notes with citizen comments. Boulder, and not the shelter, initiated talks of changing operations, as part of a broader change to the countywide homelessness response.

“The shelter leadership has performed poorly in its responsiveness to neighborhood concerns,” read another.

“The shelter should not accept people with a history of convictions related to sexual crimes,” read a note that referenced the shelter’s recent intake of people deemed “sexually violent predators” by the state.

But some are hopeful, particularly because the changes, they say, will make for more efficient use of the county’s only large sheltering facility.

“I want the city to have the flexibility to use its biggest asset — our biggest asset — to address homelessness in the most effective manner,” Jane Hummer said.

Mike Pfundstein, who lives near the shelter and volunteers there every week, said the new approach seems to promise more “stability.” But he’s worried that even upping the nightly use of the shelter won’t bring enough beds to those who need them.

Betsy Ducket, who works at Boulder Community Health, shares that concern, especially given the lingering uncertainty surrounding how Boulder will or will not shelter people during emergency weather events. The city’s primary emergency, wintertime overflow shelter closed earlier this year.

“Having worked with this population, I’m concerned for frostbite, people not getting into emergency beds, and even death over the winter, if people can’t be sheltered,” Ducket said.

Eric Savage, who lives nearby the shelter, said he’s proud that north Boulder has made a “large investment into taking care of the homeless,” but he wishes there were more shelter beds elsewhere in the city.

“I understand other parts of town have various programs, but it would be nice to see a similarly large, established residential place in other parts of town, so that it’s the whole community of Boulder that’s sharing the load,” he said.

Michelle Medal, who also lives very close by, said she’s spoken with many people who support the proposed changes, but don’t live in north Boulder and thus can’t relate to concerns about expanded daytime access, “high-needs” clients and the elimination of sobriety rules.

She said homeless people sometimes congregate in the stairwell of her apartment, and that she often feels unsafe walking outside at night, or even just stepping out briefly to walk her dog. She said she recently called police when a man stood outside her window screaming at her.

“I’m really concerned that it’s potentially going to lead to an increase in safety issues,” she said.

Greg Harms, the shelter’s director, said that his staff will evaluate the proposed changes following the meeting and then refer a management plan draft back to the city. He expects that not all of the changes on which citizens were giving feedback Monday will be kept in that draft.

“I fully anticipate that after tonight, this will get modified, based on the feedback we get, before it goes to the city,” he said.

That’s expected to happen late this month, and if the city agrees to the shelter’s proposal, the changes could be implemented as soon as late November, one city staff member said. If the two sides disagree significantly, implementation could take much longer.

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The only action that could be taken that would make me more hopeful is to replace the executive director, program director, and all current board members. A CLEAN SWEEP of incompetent administrators!

— MRW

Random stuff 10/1/2017

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

By Max R. Weller

1) See Coordinated entry: Boulder County rolling out new system focusing on ending homelessness in the Times-Call here. There’s that phrase again — “ending homelessness” — one that reflects magical thinking, just like belief in the powers of Rainbows & Unicorns.

Look, people, you cannot coerce the homeless into reforming their lives to fit your well-intended but mistaken idea of how everyone else should live. Maybe some will jump through a few hoops in order to access shelter and services that might be denied to them otherwise, but here’s the truth: There are HUNDREDS more homeless people, including a large group of transients from outside of Boulder County, CO (and even from other states) than available housing units, and that’s how it will be for the foreseeable future. Sure, maybe 1 in 10 will get into housing in a homeless ghetto project, but for everyone else (including the Homeless Philosopher) there will NOT be any decent alternative to living either “on the streets” or in emergency shelters. (BTW, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless will still have a lottery in place for emergency overnight beds even after the “new system” is in place. See New Boulder Shelter for the Homeless services overview.)

BOTTOM LINE: This new system does NOT address the problem of Boulder County being a destination city for Marijuana Travelers, registered sex offenders, and undesirable drifters in general. The numbers will overwhelm it, and the new system will quickly prove to be a quagmire of broken promises and unfulfilled expectations — BUT it will, no doubt, cost a lot more $$$! How many times does it have to be pointed out that valid photo ID with a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency for anyone seeking shelter / services is the only practical way to manage things? And bus tickets for the transients are a more cost-effective option than local courts and jail; can anyone dispute this?

2) A couple of young, stupid travelers have set up a tent in the trees along the irrigation ditch, on private property belonging to my acquaintance Railroad Man (who has a caboose and a sleeper car in his yard). RM hasn’t noticed ’em yet, but when he does they’ll be told to leave pronto. I’ll be happy to see the dumba**es go, because they talk loudly out all hours of the night, disturbing my much-needed beauty rest:

The Homeless Philosopher

3) As I was waiting outside of CU’s Norlin Library for it open at 10AM this morning, a group of Asian and Amerasian coeds was having photos taken near the west entrance. A couple of the young ladies were struggling to walk in 4″ heels, but the most memorable for me was the skinny chick in a sheer tube dress and no underwear. Really; the sun was out and caught her at just the right angle to reveal everything. Now I feel like a Dirty Old Man because I failed to avert my eyes quickly enough:

Ruth Buzzi (Gladys) and Arte Johnson (Tyrone) from “Laugh-In”

4) It’s been raining for a week, and I surely wish it would STOP. I did get the chance to dry out all of my gear yesterday morning, before it clouded over again, but in my absence somebody had been rummaging through my stuff. They didn’t take anything, however; very odd.

‘Where is work ethic of young, healthy and homeless?’

Read the letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera here. Copied below:

Kudos to Preston Padden for his guest opinion (“On personal responsibility,” Daily Camera, Sept. 27) on the Sept. 20 front-page article accompanied by a photo of a homeless couple on the Pearl Street Mall. I thought I was the only one who thought this way! They looked young, healthy but lacked a work ethic that’s why they were sitting on the mall. Why would they even get any attention and be put on the front page of the Daily Camera! Do we have no other news! I, like Preston, grew up with a work ethic. And guess what, that’s how we raised our kids, and they too have a work ethic. All in Boulder need to stop funding these young, capable, entitled transients. Give them a power bar, water but no money. They will leave, and as Preston said, help your longtime working neighbor who has fallen on hard times, not these kids who have found out Boulder is rich and gullible!

Kelly Borden

Golden

Presumably, Golden is smart enough to move the BUMS from elsewhere on down the road rather than pampering them like Boulder, CO does. Longmont has become almost as bad as Boulder, but city officials there seem to grasp reality now; see Longmont City Council tours transient camps, ponders ways to address homelessness in the Times-Call here. Excerpt copied below:

Council this year has considered two ordinances designed to curb behavior that draws residents’ complaints downtown — banning sitting and lying on sidewalks outside the Civic Center and expanding no-smoking zones outside several city government buildings. The smoking ban passed while the sitting and lying on sidewalks ordinance didn’t draw a second vote and failed. Additionally, city staff have put in place stricter behavioral standards for public buildings, and given staff training on how to safely deal with someone who is violating the policy.

[Councilman] Bagley said that considering such measures is good for the city — especially downtown, where homeless people can scare off customers.

“The primary issue is getting a system in place and certain services have to stop,” he said, alluding to his view that HOPE’s evening meal van is doing more harm than good. “We can cause a dramatic reduction in the transient traveling culture and by doing that, we stop encouraging the migration of homeless individuals into our community. First, we start there, and then we’ll have more resources to focus on people who are members of the Longmont family.” (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)

[Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement] Executive Director Lisa Searchinger said that her organization was “uninvited” from four of its five locations where they typically hand out food, including the Safety and Justice Center parking lot downtown. She responded to Bagley’s comments by saying HOPE’s data show the meals were primarily helping working, housed people who struggle to buy food. The HOPE model will change as Boulder County implements a countywide integrated services model in October.

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Poor dogs! They deserve good homes, and these young travelers need to be booted off the social services Gravy Train.

— MRW

New Boulder Shelter for the Homeless services overview:

Copied from a handout provided to BSH residents at yesterday evening’s meeting and obtained by the Homeless Philosopher this morning —

All people who want to use Boulder Shelter for the Homeless services need to go through Coordinated Entry. At that time they will be directed to the appropriate agency for support services. If directed to the shelter the following services will be available.

Stand By Bed stays —

1. Resident can utilize emergency stays through a nightly lottery

2. Availability of Stand By beds is determined by the number of beds not being used by Reserved Bed program residents

Reserved Bed program —

1. Residents will need to complete an intake with a [Case Manager] to get into the RB program

2. No income requirements

3. Sobriety is not required, but resident must be behaviorally appropriate to stay

4. Guaranteed nightly bed

5. Required to stay nightly, but can use 3 excused absences per month

6. Three no call/no shows within a month will result in removal from the program

7. Required to do a daily chore

8. Ability to make late reservations for work, school, or therapeutic meetings

9. Access to case management to assist in housing opportunities

Case management Services —

1. Residents must be in the Reserved Bed program to receive case management services

2. Residents will need to schedule an intake with a CM to access services

3. No income requirements

4. Sobriety is not required, but residents must be sober when meeting with a CM

5. No program fees or service work

6. Resident must remain engaged in case management to continue working with a CM

Sober Dorm —

1. Resident must be actively engaged with Reserved Bed program case management services to qualify for the Sober Dorm

2. Resident must maintain sobriety to remain in the dorm

3. Intoxicants include alcohol, street drugs, and prescription medications

4. If using Medical Marijuana a resident must comply with shelter MMJ policy

5. One day sleep per week; medical and late work exceptions must be approved by a CM

6. Access to Long Term Storage 

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You may be wondering: What college education and training is necessary to become Case Manager? Beyond the basic shelter requirement that employees have a high school diploma, I don’t think there is anything more (not counting any in-house training conducted by the shelter itself). See the shelter website for Employment Opportunities.

— MRW

‘A travesty of compassion’

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

The Homeless Philosopher

See the letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its brevity:

One hundred sixty beds at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and 1,600 “unique individuals” with no priority given to those who have struggled to survive here for years? They’re called residents,even if homeless! What is being proposed in the Daily Camera article “Boulder City Council supports year-round use of homeless shelter” is a travesty of compassion.

Unless Boulder’s powers-that-be show some gumption and require valid photo ID with a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency here, the 160 available beds at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless will have a majority of transients (and/or registered sex offenders, another issue nobody wants to face up to) from outside of Boulder County (and some from other states) filling them. And where, pray tell, does Councilman Aaron Brockett think the 1,440 “unique individuals” who fail to get a bed in the shelter will be hanging out? I live in that neighborhood, too, since early 2008 — and I know that many of the worst-behaved transients will remain there; others will continue to overrun Pearl Street Mall, Boulder Creek Path, various city parks, our main library, University Hill, etc.

The City Council is living in a rainbows and unicorns fantasy regarding homelessness, just as they are with municipalization.

Letting these characters lie around both night and day in their shelter bunks is ludicrous; when the Homeless Philosopher has proposed keeping BSH open as a homeless people’s day center, with access to many different services under that one roof, he meant it should be available to all homeless people on a walk-up basis. And certainly, providing bus tickets for transients to return to their own counties in Colorado or to other states would be a big part of what is offered in ideal circumstances.

Max R. Weller

Boulder

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council.)

‘On personal responsibility’

Seldom do we see a commentary from any Boulder County citizen who manages to see through the smoke screen put out by the do-gooders in our local homeless shelter / services industry, but this Guest Opinion from the Daily Camera is spot-on! Copied below in its entirety:

The Daily Camera front-page story of Sept. 20 about Boulder policies regarding the homeless leads with a picture of a young “homeless” couple sitting on Pearl Street Mall on a Monday, a workday — one reading a book and the other playing a guitar. The picture and the article present starkly the following question: “Should people who work (teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, city and county workers, reporters and others) be taxed to provide food and shelter for those who, instead of working, wish to spend their day playing the guitar on the Pearl Street Mall?”.

Like most people, I learned at an early age that it was my responsibility to provide for my own food and shelter and, eventually, for my family. It never would have occurred to me, or to 99.9 percent of the population, that I/we could sit around playing the guitar and expect others to be taxed to support us.

With currently proposed budget, Boulder City and County will be spending millions of dollars annually to support programs, infrastructure and personnel for the “homeless.” As an alternative I would suggest the following three-part part program:

1. Identify the limited number of truly local Boulder citizens who have fallen on hard times and need our help, being generous in making those determinations.

2. Give them money to enable them to get food and housing — again being generous in calculating their needs.

3. Tell the young people who do not understand personal responsibility, and who wish to spend their days playing the guitar on the mall, to get a job like the rest of us.

We have a clear moral responsibility to help our neighbors who have fallen on hard times. That is something we must do. But, fundamentally it is immoral to tax hard-working (and often underpaid) teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, city and county workers, reporters and others to pay for food and shelter for young people who do not understand personal responsibility and who wish to spend their days playing the guitar on Pearl Street Mall.

I may be wrong (it has happened before), but I am guessing that simply giving money — generously — to our real neighbors who are in genuine distress would cost a fraction of the cost of the “homeless” programs, infrastructure and personnel currently contemplated by our civic leaders.

Preston Padden lives in Lafayette.

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Everyone in Boulder County (including the Homeless Philosopher) pays the Worthy Cause sales tax and most county residents pay much more to support lazy young travelers playing guitar (badly) on Pearl Street Mall:

Poster kids for “Boulder Rights Watch”

As a homeless RESIDENT of Boulder County since early 2008, all I need is to be left alone to live outdoors, take my morning shower at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and keep a small locker there as well, blog about the terrible effects on all of society caused by inappropriate compassion for BUMS, and occasionally donate to various charities which really do help people in need. (I regret ever having given as much as I did to BSH — but it was before I learned enough to know better.)

— MRW