DONATING TO A NONPROFIT IS NOT THE SAME AS HELPING THE HOMELESS!
By Max R. Weller
Read Latest proposal at north Boulder Shelter would cancel morning services, restrict client movement in the Daily Camera. Copied below in its perplexing entirety:
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless Executive Director Greg Harms speaks with [neighborhood] residents during a “Good Neighbor” meeting hosted by the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless on Oct. 2 at the Shining [Mountain] Waldorf School in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)
Following a “good neighbor” meeting with north Boulder residents who live near the homeless shelter, the shelter’s administrators have proposed dialing back some operational changes in order to address concerns they heard at the meeting.
Generally, many of the changes to the shelter’s operating agreement that have been under consideration this fall involve expanding service to the homeless.
What was presented to neighbors at the meeting, held Oct. 2, was a plan that would see the shelter, on north Broadway, 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, neighbors learned, whereas now they are sent away in the mornings and welcomed back in the evenings.
But Greg Harms, director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, has revised the list of proposed changes.
For one, under the latest plan submitted to the city by Harms, the shelter would do away with its morning services. Currently, the facility has walk-up breakfast, shower and laundry service. Anywhere between 15 and 50 people show up for that on average, the shelter reports.
That would be discontinued after this season.
“We got a lot of feedback from the neighbors that there was a concern that homeless people were attracted to north Boulder for our morning services, even if they weren’t staying at the shelter, which meant they were camping near the shelter or staying in their cars,” Harms said. (Emphasis is mine — MRW)
Additionally, the shelter would not let residents leave the shelter and then return during the day. They would have to either stay at the facility or leave and then wait until the evening to come back.
“We would manage people’s ingress and egress so that people aren’t just going into the neighborhood to smoke a cigarette, then going in later, that kind of thing,” Harms said.
This proposed change is also a response to the fact that some neighbors expressed displeasure at the prospect of increased homeless activity near their homes.
The latest changes submitted by the shelter also call for a change to the shelter’s policy on “sexually violent predators,” though it’s unclear what difference this change would actually make.
There is huge community anxiety — among north Boulder neighbors especially, but also among other residents and much of the City Council — over the fact that the shelter has of late become a relative haven for people deemed by the state to be “sexually violent predators,” as many as four of whom occupied the shelter at one point this year.
Harms proposes that the shelter would discontinue service to these people, except in the event that they can’t find shelter elsewhere, which is entirely possible.
The Boulder city attorney’s staff responded in a memo to the proposed changes, and noted as much.
“There is not a known alternative for this population locally,” the memo stated, with reference to so-called “predators,”
“In the short term, this (change) is likely to have no effect on restricting sexually violent predators at the shelter.”
But in general the staff analysis offered support for the shelter’s proposal. The city and shelter remain engaged in a back-and-forth negotiation on the operating agreement, and Harms said he could not predict when it will be completed.
Everyone who follows this blog knows that the Homeless Philosopher has found it very convenient over the years to visit Boulder Shelter for the Homeless at 6AM for a shower and to keep a small locker with a few meager possessions there (although I no longer store cash in it after being robbed of $350 last March, apparently by a staff member with access to combinations and a master key to all the locks provided by BSH). I’ve also said that I might easily make other arrangements if the shelter were to close; looks like I’ll have plenty of time to do so.
Having said that, let me point out that I’ll continue to camp in the area around N. Broadway & U.S. 36, just as I have since early 2008. Two reasons:
1) It’s on the main RTD bus line, the SKIP, and almost every day I shop at King Soopers on Table Mesa and spend a few hours at either Norlin Library on the CU campus or at Boulder Public Library.
2) My camping policy these days is to stay far away from all transient knuckleheads, so my campsite is located outside of Boulder city limits, but still within easy walking distance of the bus stop next to BSH.
Let me also point out that many of the BUMS — who do their worst to live down to all of the negative stereotypes — camp out in this north Boulder neighborhood but rarely go to BSH for any purpose. A perfect example are those living under the N. Broadway & Rosewood bridge over Four Mile Creek, within a stone’s throw of the liquor store. Last I heard, the pedestrian underpass was a site for peeing and pooping and vomiting, all from the BUMS. One even died there a few months ago . . .
As far as registered sex offenders, many have come to our city from elsewhere in Colorado and even from other states. NEITHER Boulder’s do-gooders NOR city authorities have any legal obligation to shelter them here, NOT for a single night. Purely on humanitarian grounds, we should offer them bus tickets back to wherever they came from: Denver, Florida, New York, etc. That our so-called leaders can’t figure this out remains a mystery.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s all about $$$, and the local homeless shelter / services industry (including, of course, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Bridge House) is determined to coerce as many vulnerable homeless folks as possible into their various “programs” (all of which are about as useful as teats on a boar hog) so they can appeal for more funding from both public and private sources. No end to homelessness is in sight.
(E-mailed to Boulder City Council.)