Tag Archives: Greg Harms Boulder Shelter for the Homeless

FAKE CIVIL WAR: Boulder’s do-gooders all agree that More Homeless People = More Money

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING GREEDY HOMELESS SHELTER / SERVICES PROVIDERS!

By Max R. Weller

It just tickles me no end that two of the biggest failures among local homelessness providers — Joy Eckstine-Redstone and George Epp, formerly running the defunct Carriage House homeless day shelter and chief enablers of convicted rapist Jim Budd, founder of the soon-to-be defunct Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow — would initiate public hostilities with Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and its executive director, Greg Harms. To be sure, BSH and the moron(s) in charge there deserve all the criticism that comes their way . . . It’s just that Ms. Eckstine-Redstone and Mr. Epp have no more credibility than Mr. Harms!

All three of ’em are CLUELESS.

Anyway, here’s the commentary in the Daily Camera: Telling secrets. Copied below in its entirety:

A homeless man panhandles on the Pearl Street Mall in February.

A homeless man panhandles on the Pearl Street Mall in February. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

Communities at their best are like families, but that’s also true for when a community is at its worst. Communities have secrets, just like families, and react in the same predictable ways. Some of us keep the secrets close, some of us are the scapegoats, and some of us stridently insist on the dysfunction being heard. Every tome on family therapy insists on a central theme: for a family (or community) to heal, that the secrets must first be acknowledged and then integrated.

What does this have to do with homelessness? There is an unspoken secret in our community. It is the lack of cooperation from the leadership at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. This lack of cooperation has stymied nonprofit leaders, government agencies and homeless rights group for many years. They have been approached with ideas for collaboration that were innovative, cost-saving and humane by: Bridge House, Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO), Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement (HOPE), the Community Foundation, and many others.

Now, there is a real change happening in how homeless services are designed and delivered in the city of Boulder. Courtesy of the Homeless Working Group (part of the city’s Housing and Human Service’s Department) and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (consultants hired by the city) a radical shift in services is happening. And, as many of these changes depend on the cooperation of the Boulder Shelter, homeless individuals are at risk in our community. Life-sustaining services have already been closed.

As of May 1, Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow ceased to provide emergency warming centers and Bridge House stopped providing day shelter. It is proposed by the Homeless Working Group that each of these services essentially be incorporated into the operations of the shelter in the fall of 2017. However, the shelter has not agreed.

And, since many of the recommendations of the working group incorporate mainstream best practices, you could argue that this is not a real problem. After all, the homeless services and homeless advocacy worlds do not disagree in principle with the ideas. It incorporates best practices like:

• Immediate assessment using validated tools that measure vulnerability;

• Short-term rental assistance to stabilize people in housing;

• Rapid re-housing that prevents long term destabilization and use of expensive services;

• Housing First services that prioritize housing for people that are mutually both the most vulnerable and the most expensive to serve.

Setting aside another questionable assumption — that Boulder as a community will agree to more low-income housing and that neighborhoods will accept such housing, this basic problem remains. The Boulder Shelter cites its management plan as the reason that they can’t provide year-round shelter or day shelter. They have been citing that management plan for years, as this certainly isn’t the first time they’ve been asked to consider these concepts. The management plan, by ordinance, must be re-evaluated every three years. It has not been changed since 2002.

Let’s examine exactly what the plan says about any needed modifications: “These hours of operation, and corresponding hours of ingress and egress of Shelter residents, may be modified by the recommendation of the Neighborhood-Shelter Action group.” Admittedly, the rest of the sentence reads “to accommodate school schedules” but it does state that it can be modified.

Additionally, the plan states, “Residents will be allowed to stay at the Shelter during the day when the weather is life threatening and other sources of day shelter are not available (such as Thanksgiving and Christmas days.)” Since there is now no other source of day shelter and many winter days in Boulder are life threatening, it appears that providing day shelter is a legitimate possibility.

This year is the next time the management plan will be re-evaluated. The city wants the shelter to provide additional services and has taken away other services in anticipation of cooperation from the shelter. But those agreements have not yet been made. We believe the shelter’s management plan needs to be modified. It is for the good of the entire community.

However, if we return to our metaphor of a dysfunctional family, we as a community are enabling the shelter. Much like the alcoholic in the family system, the city is attempting an “intervention” designed to bring the shelter into cooperation and collaboration with itself, and with other homeless service providers. Will it succeed? Let’s hope, as the lives and well-being of many homeless people hang in the balance.

Joy Redstone is director of the Student & Community Counseling Center at Naropa University. She is a former executive director of [Carriage] House. George Epp is a retired Boulder County sheriff [and board member of Carriage House].

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Over four years ago, I posted this on my blog: Boulder, CO needs a homeless people’s day center open all week. I’ve also discussed so-called best practices for homeless shelters, specifically having shelter / services in ONE location instead of spread out all over town as we see here in Boulder. Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is it! No question about it, and if Greg Harms has to be fired for this to happen then so be it.

Having said this about a year-round day shelter, I remain absolutely opposed to “emergency” overnight shelters in the summertime. A little summer rain never hurt me, nor has it hurt anyone else I know who is homeless in Boulder, but I’ll grant you that a 100-Year Flood is a special circumstance which can be dealt with if and when it occurs again in our lifetimes (NOT likely).

The Primary Goal must be to reduce the numbers of transients using finite resources which should be prioritized for Boulder County’s own homeless men, women, and children. It would seem, however, that the yahoos running things want to KEEP the Alabama arsonists, Florida sex offenders, and other riffraff from all across the nation in our city year-round. NO, HELL NO!

(E-mailed to Boulder City Council)

John Tweedy column in the Daily Camera, and my e-mail reply

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING SEX OFFENDERS!

By Max R. Weller

Read the commentary here. Copied below in its entirety:

John Tweedy For the Camera

John Tweedy For the Camera

“Were you ever raped?”

It was a terrible thing to shout from the back of the middle-school auditorium to the beleaguered spokeswoman trying to calm a frightened and angry crowd, assembled in response to the notification that “sexually violent predator” Christopher Lawyer has been released back into Boulder. But the question touched on an emotional reality missing from the various official efforts to reassure us that his current residence at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is the least bad option available. Under the fear, dancing like electricity down the crowded aisles, breathed something heavier: some members of the audience themselves survived sexual assault.

I’m one of them. One summer afternoon in 1966, I was raped by a man who worked for my family. Hurt, scared, and ashamed, I never told my parents. The man quickly disappeared and was never confronted or caught. I can only assume he assaulted other kids. I was five.

That day privately but profoundly configured parts of my life, as the experience of rape at any age will do.

Thus, the label “sexually violent predator” gets my attention. But the work I’ve done to reconstruct my own history and heal my own trauma makes me especially aware that Mr. Lawyer is not simply a “predator.” He is a human being. Certainly complex — probably damaged, probably ill, hopefully struggling with remorse for a crime beyond cruelty. Assuming the best of him, he is no longer a rapist-in-waiting, but a man wanting a chance to begin anew. Assuming the worst, he will always be, as his label declares, a violent predator. The state of Colorado has put him through a process indicating the former. The community fears the latter. Like many, I do not understand his release.

Where do we go from here? The hard choice is the right one: we should accept him. By accept, I do not mean to forgive, or condone, or consider him “OK.” I do mean that we should realize, or remember, a few things.

First, beyond the danger he may individually pose, Mr. Lawyer’s presence among us symbolizes a more diffuse monstrosity that no public meeting can expel. The urge to rape blights the souls of men in many stations of society. It may stem from their own victimization, from mental illness, or from something else we helplessly call “evil.” Some rapists are sociopaths and perpetrate without qualm or remorse. Others battle against their secret selves with outward achievement and selflessness. Some rapists are homeless. Others are Ralphie-handlers, choirboys, star athletes, teachers or priests, whose cases we find “inexplicable.” Almost none announce in advance that they are “predators.” We can try to cast Mr. Lawyer and his label from our midst. But the rapists among us — and the sicknesses they carry — remain.

Second, the presenters at the community meeting were right: it is better to have Mr. Lawyer in a known location, with his ankle-monitor charged and his check-in bed established, than it is to have him calling in every night from a pay phone at an intersection, only to vanish. That’s what one of Boulder’s two other sexually violent predators currently does. Yes, we do have two others, and one of them is homeless, location unknown. I find that scarier than Mr. Lawyer’s situation, and yet there’s no uproar about it at all.

Third, he is a human being, and he has a legal right to exist. Each of us has the right to decide, based on our own history, how we feel about him today. But personal feelings should not dictate whom we include within our legal community. Christopher Lawyer is from here, and the law decrees that upon his release from custody he be returned here. A person whom the state has granted liberty has the right to exercise it, and a community that respects human rights should respect the rights of all. All means all.

I consider how I will feel, having published this, if Mr. Lawyer rapes again. The thought sickens me. I think of people who work in law enforcement and criminal justice, who face such prospects every day. In Mr. Lawyer’s mugshot, he is smiling. Perhaps it’s the vacant grin of a sociopath. Perhaps he’s hoping that a smile will persuade us that he’s committed to no longer being the person his label proclaims. Either way, he’s embarked on a journey back into the world. For all our sakes, I wish him success.

Email: john@landlockedfilms.com 

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My e-mail to Mr. Tweedy is copied below:

Dear Mr. Tweedy,

In reply to your column in the Daily Camera — it’s very frustrating for me to read yet another well-intended opinion from somebody who has a false impression of what really happens at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. I speak from years of experience as a homeless man here in Boulder, CO who knows about BSH firsthand over that stretch of time.

NOBODY on staff there actually has either the training or experience to serve as a de facto corrections officer. A homeless shelter is not a halfway house. In fact, Christopher Lawyer will not be watched at all, and if he chooses to abscond from the Shelter only his monitoring device will alert the authorities. We must note recent history involving another Sexually Violent Predator, Kerry Whitfield.

I’m bothered by your statement, “I consider how I will feel, having published this, if Mr. Lawyer rapes again.” How will the new victims of Mr. Lawyer feel? Why should anybody give a tinker’s damn how you might feel? This is so very Boulder on your part, Mr. Tweedy. We have every right to protect the most vulnerable among us from predators!

You’re also overlooking the fact that Mr. Lawyer has his well-connected mother attempting to influence public officials on his behalf. Your “compassion ” is superfluous. Mr. Lawyer should NOT have been paroled this soon.

Please reconsider your support for the dark side . . .

Max

There you have it, and now I think I’ll go into the restroom here at our Main Library and puke. The thought that a vulnerable homeless woman or female staff member at BSH could be attacked next is nauseating — Mr. Lawyer doesn’t even need to abscond from the facility! Mr. Tweedy needs an attitude adjustment, along with many other Boulderites suffering from what I’ll call Compassion Derangement Syndrome. A pox on all of ’em!

Greg Harms shows no remorse for enabling SVP Kerry Whitfield to commit new crimes in Boulder, CO

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING CORRUPT NONPROFITS LIKE BOULDER SHELTER FOR THE HOMELESS!

By Max R. Weller

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless executive director Greg Harms is a slickster with words, using them in commentaries published in the Daily Camera to create false impressions in the minds of his readers — although it’s without doubt true that nobody else is as impressed by Harms’ efforts, written or otherwise, as he is himself. I now believe the poor man is deluded . . .

See: The best option in a difficult situation from the DC. Excerpt copied below, which is what I’ll focus on in this post:

The reason the shelter accepts local sex offenders is that law enforcement believes, and we concur, that the community is safer when offenders are sleeping at the shelter rather than living on the streets. When someone has served their time and is released from prison, it is up to the state Parole Board to determine the conditions of the release. Parolees are released back to the location of their prosecution, which, in Mr. Lawyer’s case, is Boulder County. Neither the shelter nor local law enforcement has any control over the conditions of the release. When a sex offender is released into our community, and they are homeless, there are really only two options. The offender can stay at the shelter at night, or live on the streets 24-hours a day.

What happens when a convicted sex offender is no longer on parole? IN FACT, they are then free to go anywhere they choose inside or outside of Colorado. The requirement to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement continues for life, but many offenders fail to do so.

Which brings us to “Sexually Violent Predator” Kerry Whitfield of Denver, CO. His original crime was committed in that city, but a few years ago he arrived in Boulder while still on parole. He was promptly accepted into BSH’s First Step / Transition Program, but one day decided to leave without notice to anyone. A series of arrests followed as he continued to utilize local homeless shelter / services providers for support; these included Bridge House and BSH as well as others. At some point, Mr. Whitfield began selling drugs on or near the premises of Boulder Shelter to homeless women he met there. See: Women say Boulder sexual predator assaulted them after they bought drugs from him. Article copied below in its entirety:

A sexually violent predator arrested last week reportedly sexually assaulted two women who were buying drugs from him, including one woman who said he assaulted her dozens of times over the course of a month.

Kerry Fitzgerald Whitfield, 51, was arrested in Longmont on Thursday on suspicion of two counts of sexual assault on a physically helpless victim and one count of unlawful sale of a controlled substance.

According to an arrest affidavit, a woman went to Boulder police in October and said Whitfield sexually assaulted her about a month prior. The woman said Whitfield is known as “Special K” and is known as a source of drugs such as heroin, morphine, speed and “oxy.”

On Sept. 19, the woman contacted Whitfield to buy heroin from him. After taking the drugs, the woman said the two were sleeping in the van when he sexually assaulted her (I understand this occurred in the parking lot of Bustop Gentlemen’s Club, next door to BSH — MRW).

In the second case, a woman came to police this month and said Whitfield had sexually assaulted her last summer, according to the affidavit.

The woman said she met Whitfield in August of 2015 to buy drugs from him (I understand that they met at BSH — MRW). She said he began to withhold the drugs from her and began to demand sexual favors.

The woman said Whitfield sexually assaulted her more than 30 times over the course of the month, and that he also made her perform sexual acts with other women buying drugs from him so he could videotape them.

Whitfield’s history includes 22 arrests in Washington between 1982 and 1998 and at least 50 arrests in Colorado since 1998.

Whitfield is currently in custody at the Boulder County Jail on $500,000 bond while he awaits a formal filing of charges on Tuesday.

“In every case, the filing decision is ultimately determined by what the admissable evidence is and whether we can prove the crimes we charge,” said Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett. “But we do also look at the criminal history of a defendant.”

As a sexually violent predator, Whitfield is required to register his address and local law enforcement is required to send out a bulletin to the community he moves to. Whitfield had been registering with both Boulder — where he lived out of his van — and in Aurora, where he worked.

In the past several years, Boulder County law enforcement agencies have sent out several bulletins on Whitfield, the most recent being in March, a few weeks before the second woman came to police.

Boulder Sheriff Joe Pelle said there is always a concern when a sexually violent predator moves into the area.

“They’re termed ‘sexually violent predators,’ and a part of the criteria for obtaining that classification is a high risk of re-offending,” Pelle said.

In cases where the sexually violent predators are still on parole or probation, Pelle said there are ways to monitor their movement and their behavior. But for sexually violent predators who move in to the county not currently serving out a sentence — as Whitfield was — Pelle said there is not much law enforcement can do aside from make sure they keep up their registration and send out the necessary bulletins.

“The bottom line is they’ve been through this system, they’ve been through prison or parole, and there’s not a way to prevent them from coming back into the community,” Pelle said. “The best we can do is raise community awareness.”

Pelle also said a challenge of keeping track of some sexually violent predators is that many can’t find housing and jobs due to their status. Because of this, many register as either transient or list vehicles as an address, as Whitfield did with his van.”

“When they’re homeless or living out of a car, they are even more difficult for us to keep track of,” Pelle said. “It’s a double-edged sword.”

Garnett said the laws need to allow sex offenders the chance to rehabilitate while also trying to keep the community safe.

“It’s a difficult situation,” Garnett said. “We have to balance the need for people to rehabilitate and to integrate back into the community with the obligation that everybody in law enforcement has to protect the community, particularly from someone as dangerous as a sex offender.” 

Kerry Whitfield

Most recent news on Kerry Whitfield is from this past January: Boulder ‘sexually violent predator’ Kerry Whitfield released from custody from the Daily Camera.

What do you suppose would happen if Mr. Whitfield showed up on the doorstep of BSH today, wanting to apply for the 90-day Summer Bed Program or the First Step / Transition Program? I can fearlessly predict that he would be welcomed — per the twisted leadership of executive director Greg Harms. BTW, the folks running other homeless shelters across America also do NOT agree with accepting registered sex offenders into their facilities; are we to believe what Mr. Harms implies, that only he is right and everyone else is wrong?

What’s the real reason for providing parole beds to perverts, anyway? See this DC report: Colorado paying $280 a week for ‘sexually violent predator’ to live at Boulder homeless shelter. Strange, but Greg Harms forgot to mention the $$$ in his commentary . . . Compare that $280 to the going rate of $25 per week paid by other program residents (who can do extra chores and have that modest fee waived altogether).

Because he’s now off parole, Colorado DOC would not pay for Kerry Whitfield to again stay at the [Harms Hotel], but the executive director is so full of himself he probably still believes he can help to “rehabilitate” these characters. Most rational people would disagree:

Maybe it’s time for folks in the neighborhood to take a more militant stance!