Tag Archives: Boulder Shelter for the Homeless

‘San Diego starts cleaning sidewalks, streets to combat hepatitis A’

Read the report from the San Diego Union-Tribune here. Copied below in its entirety:

Crews from the company Clean Harbors began power-washing sidewalks and street areas with a bleach and chlorine solution in downtown San Diego on Monday as part of an effort to stop the spread of hepatitis A among homeless people.

The area cleaned Monday included sidewalks around 17th Street and Imperial Avenue, where hundreds of homeless congregate and live in tents and other shelters along city streets. The cleanings will continue in other downtown areas on Wednesday and Friday and repeat every other week.

A hepatitis A outbreak has left 15 homeless people dead and hospitalized nearly 300 others over the past 10 months. A lack of adequate access to restrooms, showers and hand-washing stations is believed to have contributed to the spread.

Besides starting the washing program Monday, the city announced it was extending the hours of 14 restrooms in Balboa Park, which will be open 24 hours a day starting Tuesday.

“By disinfecting our sidewalks and making additional public restrooms available 24/7, we’re following the direction of County health officials to address the unsanitary conditions that have helped fuel this outbreak,” said Craig Gustafson, senior director of communications for Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “We’re taking swift action to eradicate this virus from our streets and keep our most vulnerable residents safe.”

On Friday, Gustafson said Faulconer expected to announce this week a plan to set up multiple large tents to provide temporary, immediate shelter relief for hundreds of homeless people. Those tents will be equipped with restrooms, hand-washing stations and showers, he said.

The sidewalk washings and extended restroom hours this week were in response to a letter sent by county health official Aug. 31 asking the city to move forward with a list of specific sanitation actions to help control the spread of hepatitis A.

The county gave the city five business days to respond with the plan for remedying what it called a “fecally contaminated environment” downtown.

On Monday, county Communications Director Michael Workman said health officials still were evaluating the city’s response to the request.

The county also has taken steps to address the outbreak and plans to expand its efforts to other cities in the region soon.

County health officials already have provided hepatitis vaccinations to 19,000 people, including 7,300 considered to be at-risk of contracting the disease. The county also hired its own contractor to install 40 hand-washing stations in areas where the homeless often gather, and it has plans to install more this week.

The city has identified three downtown areas to be cleaned every other week. Monday’s areas included the sidewalks along Imperial Avenue below the Interstate 5 overpass, where the city had installed jagged rocks in an attempt to deter homeless people from camping in April 2016. Homeless people still used the site, prompting a need to wash the area.

The Monday cleaning area also includes streets north of National Avenue, south of F Street, west of 22nd Street and east of 10th Avenue. It also includes several blocks north of F Street and south of B Street between 10th Avenue and 17th Street.

On Wednesdays, crews will move west and clean streets north of Broadway, south of Fir Street, west of 10th Avenue and east of Pacific Highway.

On Fridays, crews will clean streets north of Harbor Drive, south of Broadway, west of 10th Avenue and east of Pacific Highway.

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It wasn’t that long ago here in Boulder, CO that citizens were up in arms, and rightly so, over the worst-behaved transients peeing and pooping along Boulder Creek upstream from the downtown area. See: City struggles to manage human waste along Boulder Creek from the Daily Camera.

After observing the new and much-ballyhooed homelessness strategy at Boulder Shelter for the  Homeless for over a week, featuring something called Coordinated Entry, I can tell you that it’s more of the same as we’ve seen in years past: MORE TRANSIENTS without any ties to Boulder County consuming resources that should be prioritized for local homeless residents. No doubt, some of them have recently traveled through San Diego, CA and been exposed to hepatitis A, which has killed 19 homeless people and hospitalized 300 others in recent months in that city.

Yet, the do-gooders in our local homeless shelter / services industry continue to welcome the BUMS with open arms. Their creed: More Homeless People = More Money.

— MRW

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‘As fall colors take hold, Boulder County braces for first snow, up to 4 inches could fall Monday’

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING INCOMPETENT DO-GOODERS!

By Max R. Weller

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

One year after recording its latest first measurable snow, Boulder County is expected to see its inaugural blanket of white for the fall season by Monday, about a week ahead of its average date for that benchmark.

Forecasters are calling for up to 4 inches of snow in Boulder County, with the event starting off as rain before midnight Sunday, turning to snow and then snowing much of the day Monday, which in Boulder is celebrated as Indigenous Peoples Day and is recognized at the federal level as Columbus Day.

“This is a system coming in from the west. We’re getting the downslope winds now, coming out of the Pacific west,” said Nezette Rydell, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Boulder. “It’s a normal wintertime system coming at us.”

hazardous weather warning on the NWS website Friday stated “Enough snow may accumulate on trees to cause damage. As temperatures fall Sunday night into early Monday, some snow or slush accumulation will be possible on roads as well. A hard freeze is also likely across the entire area Monday night as skies clear behind the storm system.”

In 2016, Boulder County did not see its first autumn snow until Nov. 17, with Boulder recording 3 inches that day and Longmont 1.7 inches. Previously, the latest first snow in Boulder had fallen Nov. 15, which occurred in 1987, 1988 and 2005.

The average date for first snow of the season in Boulder for the period 1948 to 2014 was Oct. 15.

The coming storm, Rydell said, “is a little early” for the first snowfall. “Most are mid-October or later. It’s a little bit early, but it’s not out of the realm of the usual. We’ve been having later (first) snow the last few years, mostly in the last half of October or early November.”

Boulder meteorologist Matt Kelsch on his weather blog Friday said “the questions are whether there will be substantial precipitation and whether that precipitation will last long enough to change to snow. Right now it appears likely that there will be at least measurable snow Monday or Monday evening along the Front Range and adjacent plains.”

He also noted, “Get ready for widespread frosts and freezes early next week, too.”

Summer only bowed out just over two weeks ago and fall foliage is only now coming into its own. But Rydell believes Boulderites won’t mind seeing their first glimpse of white in the city.

“I think the winter activists among us are ready for the winter snows, so bring it on,” she said. “It’s a holiday, so that helps.”

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What about emergency overnight shelter for the hundreds of homeless people — many of them transients from warmer climes who are not prepared for winter conditions here in Colorado — currently on the streets due to the inadequate number of beds available at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (160)?

Another website (from which I’ve long since been blocked) is claiming that Bridge House Path to Home will expand the number of homeless people it takes in BEYOND THE CURRENT 50 PERSON LIMIT during the coming life-threatening weather. Here are the locations:

Path to Home Locations

Line-up is after 6:30 PM

Doors Open from 7:00 PM– 9:00 PM

Monday
Atonement Lutheran
Inca at Baseline Bus 225

Tuesday
Boulder Mennonite
Broadway at Table Mesa Bus Skip

Wednesday and Thursday
St. Andrew
37th at Baseline Bus 225

Friday
Atonement Lutheran
Inca at Baseline Bus 225

Saturday
To be announced

Sunday
Congregation Har HaShem
37th at Baseline Bus 225

I advise calling ahead to be sure you can get in at (303) 442-8300 . . . The local news media has done a POOR job in getting word out, and the City of Boulder website is full of info irrelevant to homeless people’s immediate needs in this predicted snowstorm.

I hope nobody suffers frostbite or worse because bureaucrats and do-gooders in nonprofits have no idea how to prioritize a much-needed service like emergency overnight shelter for the homeless, both Boulder County residents and so-called travelers alike.

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

‘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.

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.)