Tag Archives: Housing First

Former hospital site on Broadway to become Housing First apartments


By Max R. Weller

Plans are being made — behind the scenes, of course — to transform this huge facility into Permanent Supportive Housing for as many as 100 chronically homeless alcoholics and drug addicts with a dual diagnosis of mental illness or physical disability:


Boulder Community Hospital Broadway campus, now owned by the City of Boulder and Boulder Housing Partners

The facility, where clients will not be required to maintain sobriety or seek employment and/or further education, will accept homeless men and women meeting the criteria of Housing First from anywhere in America. Executive Director Joy Moonbeam explained, “Boulder must lead the way in showing compassion to the most vulnerable in American society, and we reject discrimination on the basis of geography.”

A prospective HF client interviewed in Denver, who asked that his name not be used, said, “I love Boulder because I can get everything for free there, and now I’ll have an apartment, too.”

School children walk past a homeless man that was passed out, sleeping in Civic Center Park near Colfax and Broadway Tuesday afternoon. The Denver Post/ Andy Cross

School children walk past a homeless man that was passed out, sleeping in Civic Center Park near Colfax and Broadway Tuesday afternoon. The Denver Post/ Andy Cross

The Homeless Philosopher, who has always opposed such enabling of the worst-behaved homeless men and women, has now seen the light . . . In fact, I’ll be moving into Moonbeam Manor myself, as soon as it’s ready!


It’s unbelievable, but I’m NOT making this up!


By Max R. Weller

First, read my previous post Update on Housing First in Anchorage, AK originally published on January 25, 2015.

As more background to the ongoing saga, also read Success of Karluk Manor depends on who you ask from Alaska Dispatch News published on May 28, 2012.

Now get a look at this report from the online Seattle Weekly of May 5, 2015: Anchorage’s Plan to Send Seattle Its worst Drunks: A Sober Look. Quoting from it below:

Karluk Manor caters to the desperate and downtrodden on the periphery of downtown Anchorage — about a mile away from the famed Captain Cook Hotel, where, until a few years ago, a stuffed polar bear, fangs bared, stood almost 10 feet high inside its lobby. For many years it was a Red Roof Inn, a drab, two-story affair with 46 nearly identical rooms. In fall 2011, the state of Alaska, acutely aware of its reputation as having one of the U.S.’s highest rates of alcoholism, spent $3.5 million to buy the property, remodel the motel, and turn it into a long-term home for Anchorage’s homeless, chronic alcoholics.

Today, Karluk Manor — modeled after 1811 Eastlake, which opened in Seattle a decade ago and shelters 75 homeless men and women with extreme alcohol addiction — houses, at any given time, around 40 of the most prolific boozers in Alaska’s largest city, at an annual cost of nearly $23,000 per person. According to the city’s health director, Melinda Freemon, that’s a pretty good deal, considering that the public is on the hook for $61,000 yearly to care for each of Anchorage’s estimated 250 to 300 chronic homeless drunks.

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan*, like a number of mayors (including his own father) who have presided over this century-old city of 265,000 residents spread across an alluvial plain between the Chugach Mountains and the frigid waters of Cook Inlet, is alarmed by the rising price of dealing with its inebriated population.

In 2013, the Anchorage Safety Center, where those who’ve had too much are taken to sleep it off, recorded more than 26,000 admissions, according to the city attorney’s office. One frequent visitor spent 275 nights there. Last year the city of Anchorage spent close to $2 million on a year-long contract to run the safety center and a van service to haul drunks.

“So I’m thinking, maybe it’s time we do something different,” Sullivan told Seattle Weekly in a recent phone interview. Mindful that lower gas prices in oil-driven Alaska have begun to have deleterious effects on the economy, Sullivan added, “It could save us millions of dollars. We just need to try something new.”

What the 63-year-old two-term mayor is considering is this: flying five to 10 serious alcoholics, now residing at Karluk Manor, to Seattle and placing them in a 10-day, $22,000 aversion-therapy treatment program at Schick Shadel Hospital. Those seeking treatment must volunteer. No one will be forced to attend, and, Sullivan stressed, they will return to Anchorage once the 10-day anti-cravings regimen is completed.

It will be a pilot project, the mayor noted, costing his city about $200,000—which he hopes the nine-member Anchorage Assembly will approve, perhaps as early as this week.

Sullivan said he has not encountered any opposition to his alcoholic export plan, though he conceded, “There are some people here, local providers, who’ve said, ‘Gosh, maybe the money would better spent here,’ but we don’t have treatment facilities anywhere to do what they do there [at Schick Shadel].”

The mayor said he learned of the Burien-based hospital from an advertorial in Alaska Airlines Magazine and was impressed by its success rate, which, according to Schick Shadel marketing director Holly Williams, is 62 to 65 percent.

Williams contacted Sullivan and set up a presentation after learning that the mayor had given a speech in which he touted the work of Schick Shadel. Founded in 1935, it is the oldest hospital in the nation devoted solely to treating substance abuse. Its main pitch man is 81-year-old Pat O’Day, the legendary Seattle radio and TV personality who sought treatment for alcoholism at the 60-bed hospital in 1986.

In early April, Schick Shadel CEO Bruce Brandler journeyed to Anchorage and met with Sullivan, Freemon, and other city health officials. He talked extensively about the treatment method, known as “counter-conditioning,” in which patients are exposed to alcohol in combination with chemicals that induce vomiting, with the goal of making the sight, smell, and taste of a stiff drink repellent. Electric shocks are also part of the protocol.

“We have treated more than 65,000 patients with aversion therapy,” Brandler, who lost a family member as a result of acute alcoholism, told the Weekly. “We have had great results, though we never say that we ‘cure’ people. We just get them to stop drinking.” Brandler said he can think of no other instance in which a city has contracted to send its chronic alcoholics to a substance-abuse treatment provider, “but it’s not all that surprising because we are already treating a lot of people who come down from Alaska.”

Rosalie Nadeau, who runs Akeela Inc., an Anchorage drug-addiction treatment center, said aversion therapy might work for highly motivated people, such as those whose drinking is jeopardizing their job, Alaska Dispatch News recently reported. “That’s somebody who is willing to spend $22,000 to go to a place and endure what amounts to torture in order to get over it,” Nadeau said.

“We do not torture our patients,” bristled Brandler. “We are a hospital. We treat people. And the electric-shock treatment is not like something you’d see in a Frankenstein movie. It’s a small, little shot [of electricity].”

Many years ago, Kelling Hospital in Waverly, MO (near my hometown of Lexington in Lafayette County) offered aversion therapy for alcoholics. It became the subject of a major story on one of the TV stations in nearby Kansas City. Interviews with alcoholic patients were aired, in which they claimed that this so-called treatment nearly killed them, from almost constant nausea induced by Antabuse and alcohol given to patients in combination. I don’t recall that electric shocks were a part of the regimen at Kelling, but the program was quickly terminated by the hospital after news got out of the methods being used there. I don’t remember the outcome of civil lawsuits filed by patients against the hospital and staff involved, but more than likely substantial sums were paid out-of-court to settle the litigation.

Imagine my surprise that aversion therapy is still being practiced, and my complete bewilderment that Anchorage wants to ship its chronic street drunks to Seattle after investing so heavily in Housing First — the supposed panacea for chronic alcoholism.

What a SCAM!

*Ethan Berkowitz is now Anchorage Mayor.

The truth about homelessness in Utah, and more


By Max R. Weller

For a long while now, we’ve been treated to propaganda about how Housing First is ending “chronic homelessness” in our neighboring state of Utah. Time and again, I’ve pointed out two relevant facts:

1) The chronically homeless are only a tiny percentage of overall homeless numbers; and

2) There are about as many homeless people in Utah now as ever.

See the data for yourself, in the 2014 Comprehensive Report on Homelessness; scroll down to page 9 and peruse “Figure 3.1 Utah Homeless Point-In-Time Count, 2005 — 2014” (I wish I could find data organized in this way for Colorado).

In 2005, there were 13,690 homeless persons counted in Utah, 5,565 of them in families and 1,932 chronically homeless. After some variation up and down in numbers over the years, 2014 showed 13,621 homeless persons counted, with 6,312 of them in families and 539 chronically homeless. Yes, indeed, chronically homeless numbers — relatively small to begin with — have declined. But, the number of homeless people in families has increased and the number of homeless overall has remained steady.

My guess is that many of the chronically homeless simply moved on from Utah during this time, some of them probably coming here to the Denver/Boulder metro area in Colorado.

To tout this as a success for Housing First is to twist logic into a pretzel. Look at the entire picture, people. Don’t ALL homeless people count, not just the “chronically homeless”?

Subway serves a free lunch to nearly 1,100 needy people at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

I’m delighted to see that sales of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” are booming, with people wanting to read it and decide for themselves if it’s an accurate reflection of the white mainstream’s racist attitudes in 1950s Alabama.

This summer in Boulder, CO has been very disappointing to me. I’d grown accustomed to this time of year being a break from the transients flocking here in search of Hippie Paradise, but thanks to our local shelter/services providers doing even more to welcome the bums it’s been a mess, instead. Not a morning goes by that I don’t see new faces at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless — and they candidly admit that they’re here for “legal” marijuana, which they think they can smoke anywhere in public or resell on the street for a profit.

Time for NEW LEADERSHIP among the nonprofits: BSH, Bridge House, Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow, and others. Their current boards of directors and staff must go!

BTW, there was a lot of blood on the sidewalk at my spot in front of the Mexican restaurant in the 4900 block of N. Broadway yesterday. The bums who were present denied any knowledge of how it came to be there, but I made it clear that their stupid violence needs to go elsewhere. Back to Denver sounds like the best option to me.

That’s all for now, folks.

Boulder Shelter pansies in full bloom


By Max R. Weller

The premise of these so-called programs at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (First Step/Transition, Summer Bed Program, Housing First), or any other homeless shelter/services provider, is twofold: 1) To offer a pathway for the helpless and needy clients to become independent, productive citizens; and 2) To appeal to both public and private sources for financial support, never minding that #1 is phony baloney. In fact, the tiny percentage of chronically homeless people who do “get back on their feet” do so on their own, and don’t need the distractions of scamming ne’er-do-wells in any program.

The most that can be hoped for is to warehouse the chronically homeless and lessen the chances they will die on the streets. Having said that, I hasten to add that letting them drink themselves to death in brand new apartments at 1175 Lee Hill (over $200,000 apiece) is no better — dead is dead.

When I arrived at BSH this morning around 5:15, I heard somebody chanting gibberish in the atrium as I waited outside for the door to open at 6AM:

O, bumatee bumatee bumatee

O, bumatee bumatee bumatee

O, bumatee bumatee bumatee

I haven’t any clue what this is supposed to mean, and I’ve given it a phonetic spelling above. It went on continuously for almost ten minutes. I almost rang the doorbell to summon staff, thinking that this precious little program doper was suffering some sort of seizure.

Shortly after it ceased, Rain Man — the guy who admits he came here to Boulder for the weed and is angry about the recent rainy weather — arrived and started telling on himself again! This time, he detailed the larcenous scheme that he and a friend are trying to pull off at local retail establishments; one guy will shoplift merchandise, then the other guy will return it at a later time to get a refund. I can’t believe this works very often, in the absence of a store receipt, and Rain Man himself is so STOOPID he doesn’t understand that being in possession of stolen property is also a crime, just like stealing in the first place. Well, guess what? Rain Man wants to get into the Summer Bed program, in the belief that he can continue to smoke dope and commit petty crimes in the community, and it looks like he will succeed.

Apparently, nobody on staff at BSH is either smart enough or attentive enough to listen to Rain Man telling on himself inside the facility . . .

I have to update the circumstances of the Housing First client — let’s call her “Doris” — who was recently evicted for inviting her drunken friends to stay overnight in her apartment (a BIG no-no without express permission, and then only a few nights per month). She has moved into a nearby field, into a large cardboard box with a small doggie door cut out at the bottom. She is sharing this humble abode with two guys, and yesterday she was so intoxicated she could barely stand upright as she panhandled on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36. Doris (NOT her real name) used to stay down around Baseline in south Boulder, but the 1175 Lee Hill Wet House brought her north, and now my neighborhood may be stuck with her presence for the foreseeable future. Thanks for nothing, Greg Harms and Betsey Martens!


Shutting off the Q & A with north Boulder residents in re Housing First

In addition, this pickled HF alumnus has lost her eyeglasses, and crawls over the barbed-wire fence leading into the field with her cardboard home, instead of walking through either one of two gaps about 10′ wide.

I’ve been drunk many times in the past, before I sobered up more than a dozen years ago, but I don’t believe I was ever as pathetic as Doris. I could be wrong, however; does jogging nekkid at midnight on deserted country roads back in Missouri count?

In closing, today’s Boulder Shelter Pansy Prize has to go to the program resident who was begging staff to make another BIG pot of coffee, when the first ran out, because he lacks the foresight to buy his own instant coffee like I do. No doubt, he has money for cigarettes, booze, and dope; everything else he should be able to get FREE. This is, after all, what local do-gooders led by Joy Eckstine Redstone and Isabel McDevitt are teaching the bums to expect from society.

Addendum: The National Weather Service forecast is looking better, finally. It hasn’t been so bad for me, with books to read and snacks to eat when I’m forced to crawl into my burrow.

It’s good to have friends in the REAL WORLD!



By Max R. Weller

I returned to my north Boulder campsite yesterday morning, after more than a week holed up in Longmont with friends there. Their new home is great; I managed to read no fewer than seven books in the peace and quiet of my basement room (I also had my own shower). I can highly recommend “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains” by Isabella L. Bird. I can tell you this much: Boulder’s arrogant attitude was no different in the early 1870s than it is today, according to the author — who dismisses the city in short order.

I’ve been suffering from bronchitis, which is not as bad now as it was a couple of weeks ago; this is why I’m so grateful to have gotten away from the stinking “gutter snipes” (cigarette butts picked up off the ground, then smoked by the bums), the skunk weed, and worst of all the Axe cologne/deodorant used by many homeless men in confined spaces at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless:

Cockroaches don’t stand a chance against this stuff.

A strange thing at my campsite: I found that someone had hidden about half a dozen backpacks, filled with who knows what, underneath my old tarp. I haven’t a clue who did this, but I’m guessing that all of this gear was stolen from other homeless people, bearing in mind Occam’s razor. I just threw it aside, and enjoyed a warm and dry night protected by a new tarp from Walmart in south Longmont (the one with a McDonald’s inside). This is what I mean by the knuckleheads wanting to catch others up in their wrongdoing — so if you’ve lost a backpack recently and you just happen to know the precise location of my campsite, please feel free to retrieve your property.

Nobody was on the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 until the afternoon, when one of the Housing First panhandlers from 1175 Lee Hill strolled over to fly a sign. Apparently, the city police are once again confused about where the city limits end, and they’ve been telling a few panhandlers there recently that they can’t panhandle at that spot. These are folks I don’t want there, anyway, so I’m NOT inclined to help ’em out. As for me, I have to deal with this about once a year, and it’s always resolved in my favor by the higher-ups at Boulder PD. To wit, this e-mail reply I received a year ago:

Mr. Weller,
Deputy Chief Testa forwarded your complaint to me and asked that I investigate it and respond to you.  Sgt. Dowd talked with Ofc. Patterson and learned that she and her trainee did contact a male in the median near U.S. 36 and Broadway.  No summons was issued, and the mail (sic) was advised of the state law regarding standing in a median.  Ofc. Patterson received verbal counseling, reminding her to make sure that she was inside the City limits when making contacts.  Also, an e-mail was sent department wide reminding all officers to check their jurisdiction map when making contacts or conducting enforcement.  If you have any further concerns about this issue please contact me.
Thank You for your correspondence,
Commander Jack Walker

Neither Boulder County deputies nor Colorado state troopers object to panhandling per se at N. Broadway & U.S. 36, but they do address other issues which arise when certain bums get out of hand.

BTW, [Greg] Testa is now Boulder Police Chief, and he seems to be doing a good job.

Are these more warm and fuzzy Bridge House clients? See Boulder transient facing bias-motivated charge in assault on transgender man in the Daily Camera. Another clown who can’t handle his cheap liquor:

Paul Wettengel

Paul Wettengel (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office)

Cut the crime rate: close Bridge House. Worth repeating!

I confess that I’m uncertain about the future of this blog . . . I’ve said what I have to say about homelessness here in the Boulder Bubble, along with the incompetence and corruption of the homeless shelter/services industry, and there isn’t anything NEW to add. Lots of times, I bore myself. Your comments are welcome. I enjoy reading all of them, even if they aren’t going to be published here.

Tiny houses, NOT bedbug-infested human warehouses!


By Max R. Weller

Only seven (7) more nights of pampering transients from Denver and elsewhere at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless — then we can enjoy public venues once again until the middle of October.

I don’t eat there, I don’t sleep there, and if BSH closed down its morning services from 6AM-8AM (available year-round) I’d arrange to shower and store my clean clothes elsewhere. Maybe it’s to the greater good that it does close its doors permanently; certainly, NOBODY who gets caught up in staying overnight and/or getting into a “transition” program at BSH is any the better for it.

What’s the alternative, you ask? Here’s a concept springing up in progressive cities all across America:

Tiny houses helping with homeless problem in U.S. — CBS News

Compare the estimated $5,000 cost of the tiny house pictured above with the $200,000+ price tag of a Housing First apartment at 1175 Lee Hill in Boulder, CO . . . We could already have housed ALL of the hundreds of homeless men and women on the streets here in tiny houses, instead of overpriced ghetto-style projects and emergency shelters.

Hand-in-hand with the tiny house concept should be prioritizing shelter/services for Boulder County’s own homeless people. Example of how this can be done: Haven for Hope in San Antonio, TX.

Hell, I’d build my own tiny survival shelter for about $100 — if I had somewhere to put it! See:

Tiny Coroplast House

Let’s face the ugly truth: Most do-gooders are really NOT interested in either “ending” or “addressing” homelessness, and they remain committed to the failed models we see in Boulder, CO (and elsewhere). This is especially true in the cases of the executive directors of BSH and Bridge House who make annual salaries of $90,000+ and $70,000+ respectively. I don’t know what the Head Cheese at Boulder Housing Partners makes, but it’s in the same ballpark.

That’s food for thought over the weekend. Have a good one!

1175 Lee Hill case manager ‘helps’ aggressive panhandling client at N. Broadway & U.S. 36


By Max R. Weller

This is a TRUE tale — and further evidence that the Housing First program here in Boulder, CO is FUBAR.

Who knows what goes through the minds of Housing First program residents in their brand new apartments at 1175 Lee Hill (built at a cost of over $200,000 each)? Since this facility opened last Fall, however, I can report seeing two HF clients panhandling at the nearby corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36. With all of the cash benefits and other social services they receive in addition to housing, you have to wonder why it’s still necessary for them to “fly a sign” as they’ve done for years previously.

The NEW 31-unit, $6 million plus Housing First project at 1175 Lee Hill in Boulder, CO

Please don’t misunderstand — this is no encroachment on me, because I gain all the support I need from passersby in an hour or two, on the days I choose to play the role of humble beggar. All that I ask from other panhandlers who wish to try their luck at this spot is to behave decently, and maintain the good will of everyone in the neighborhood as I strive to do, having lived there over seven years. Unfortunately, during that span of time there have been many Froot Loops on the corner at U.S. 36: Drunk Brian, Shouting Joe, Top Hat Hippie, at al.

Which brings us to the Native American woman who is the Housing First client I’m writing about today. (Or she was; I’m told by a source at 1175 Lee Hill that an eviction notice was recently posted on the door of her apartment). Yesterday around noon, I was eating my lunch and reading a book while sitting on the wall in front of the Mexican restaurant in the 4900 block of N. Broadway. She came along, said “Hi, Max” as she passed me, and headed out to the popular panhandling site. Within a short time, she began acting crazy . . . Trying to talk to EVERYONE who stopped for the red light, motorists and bicyclists alike, but even worse she stepped off of the concrete median into the roadway several times and held up cars after the traffic signal turned green; this is exactly what is meant by the term Aggressive Panhandling.

I yelled at her more than once, “GET OUT OF THE ROAD!”

Imagine my surprise when Housing First case manager Chris Byrne (I also obtained this name from my source mentioned above) parked his car in the bike lane next to the corner, and walked over to sit down on the median beside her. He spoke to her for about five minutes — during his first visit.


He made a second visit to the corner a short time later, for another couple of minutes of conversation.

She continued to aggressively panhandle and behave like a nut after he left, so we can logically conclude that Mr. Chris Byrne had no problem with her disrespect for passersby and the neighborhood in general.

Again, WTF?

About 1:45PM, I’d had enough of her show and went out to take over the corner. I mentioned to her that I’d seen several aggressive panhandlers be confronted by Boulder County Sheriff’s Office deputies (the corner lies just outside Boulder city limits) after complaints from passersby, and advised her to be more careful about standing in the roadway and holding up traffic through a green light. This pisses people off, understandably so, and hurts “business” for all of us, humble beggars and Froot Loops alike.

I couldn’t smell any alcohol on her breath, but it seems to me that she is probably suffering from “Wet Brain” due to her years of drinking — which is, of course, how she qualified for the Housing First program to begin with.


What led to the eviction notice mentioned above I don’t know, but it’s likely some transgression committed on the premises at 1175 Lee Hill.

Really, donors to all of Boulder’s homeless shelter/services providers need to reconsider what it is they’re actually supporting.

As to Mr. Chris Byrne? He should be fired immediately, notwithstanding that he is also a Deacon in the Catholic Church: