Tag Archives: tiny houses for homeless

‘[Transient Migration] a bar to successful Boulder County homeless strategies’

Read the story in the Daily Camera here. Excerpt copied below:

The existing need and scarcity explain why the housing goals associated with Boulder’s newly approved Long-Term Homelessness Strategy are, in the estimation of city officials, both ambitious and insufficient.

Over the next three years, the document states, a total of 180 new units of housing should be created between the city and Boulder County for the benefit of both high-needs homeless individuals and low-income or non-chronically homeless people in need of “rapid rehousing.”

Kurt Firnhaber, the city’s housing director, acknowledged the goals are a “stretch.”

But, clearly, achievement of those targets would still leave a massive amount of need, as assessments of regional homelessness suggest that even during the dead of winter — the down season for transient travel to the area — about 600 people are unhoused in Boulder County.

In Boulder and Longmont, the issue is highly visible, primarily with single homeless adults in the two cities’ respective downtowns. The majority of the homeless services in the county, and the only overnight shelters, are in those two cities. 

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STOP ACCEPTING TRANSIENTS FROM OUTSIDE OF BOULDER COUNTY FOR SHELTER / SERVICES! Really, it’s that simple; I believe that adequate housing solutions can be found for ALL of our local homeless residents — defined as those with a valid photo ID showing a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency. It seems likely that over half of those seeking aid of all kinds are from elsewhere, so hand them bus tickets on RTD to Denver and sack lunches to-go. Then, embrace the truly progressive concept of inexpensive Tiny Homes. Finally, understand that a small percentage of homeless people will NEVER want to live as society would like them to — these are the folks who require a minimal level of emergency shelter / services during wintertime.

See what’s happening in Madison, WI — just one example among many cities in America which are leaving Boulder, CO in their dust:

One year in, Madison’s village of tiny houses wins over many neighborhood critics.

— MRW 

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Final words on homelessness in Boulder, CO:

DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY, STOP ENABLING BAD BEHAVIOR!

By Max R. Weller

As I’m moving away from the City of Boulder, where I’ve lived since early 2008, this blog will be headed in a different direction in the future. So, I’ve reviewed what I’ve written in the past in re homelessness here and decided to sum it all up with words originally published on 6/16/2014:

Isabel McDevitt of Bridge House

Any homeless adult who comes to Boulder, CO is fed for free several times a day; see the list of sites for yourself. In addition, almost all homeless people apply for and receive food stamps.

Emergency overnight shelter is available from October 1st through April 30th at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless or Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (dates will vary according to weather conditions).

Free blankets and clothing are provided by Boulder County Cares, the street outreach of BSH from October 15th through April 15th.

In fact, just look through RESOURCES FOR THE HOMELESS IN BOULDER, CO — one of the Pages at the top of this website.

What does it all mean? It means that a homeless person in our fair city has all of his/her needs met, and then some, in terms of survival on the streets. Any disposable income that homeless individual may have, and everybody has something to spend, can be applied to cigarettes, booze, and dope. This leads to misery and death, as we’ve seen repeatedly.

It’s the law of unintended consequences in action: inappropriate compassion is killing the homeless in Boulder, CO.

When winter comes, why not hand out bus tickets to the transients who have no ties in this city to other cities in a warmer clime? Ain’t nobody freezing to death in Miami, along the Gulf Coast, or in Arizona.

All you have to do is ask any transient you see here, “Why did you come to Boulder, CO?” The answer is because this is the place for transients to gather, from all over America.

Isabel McDevitt looks at the homeless people who come through the doors of her so-called day center, and she sees two things:

1) An opportunity for more Big Money projects to benefit only a select few of the homeless; and

2) The chance to cover herself in more glory as the Daily Camera’s go-to source in re homelessness (granted, the DC had to find a new “homeless advocate” after Jim Budd was convicted of rape and sent away for 25+ years).

The woman makes me physically ill, and so do all of the other do-gooders like her.

What can be done to improve the lives of homeless people who live in Boulder County, CO year-round? Two things occur to me:

1) Require valid photo ID showing a Boulder County address from anyone seeking homeless sheltering/services; and

2) Immediately begin construction of “tiny homes” to accommodate Boulder County’s own homeless single adults. See just one report on this growing movement in truly progressive cities across the country, Homeless People Say These 99-Square-Foot Tiny Houses Are ‘Life Changing’ from Reuters via the Huffington Post.

In other words — let’s take care of our own ASAP. The fact is, with the millions and millions of $$$ being squandered by the local nonprofits (consider the 31-unit, $6 million Housing First project at 1175 Lee Hill), every single homeless adult in Boulder could already have been housed.

Emergency shelters for the homeless are human warehouses

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

I’m referring specifically to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the various sites operated by Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow. Somewhere in America, there surely is a place for street people to stay overnight in decent conditions — clean surroundings with peace and quiet prevailing, and staffed by those who can recognize the bad actors who make life miserable for other homeless men and women — but that place is NOT to be found in Boulder, CO.

BSH intake area

Does this look to you like a dignified way to bring those in need out of the cold? BTW, you have to play the lottery to get a bunk; if you’re unlucky and draw a high number, you’ll be turned away. In that case, you could wind up here:

One of the BOHO emergency warming centers (location withheld by me)

What the tarps spread all over the floor indicate to me is that this this particular church thinks that ALL homeless people they host are filthy and vermin-infested, and can be expected to vomit everywhere except into a toilet. Maybe the other churches and a synagogue also do this, I don’t know; NEVER have I cared to stay overnight at BOHO after hearing the stories from those who have.

I’ll add that I haven’t stayed overnight at BSH since April 30, 2010. I’ve had my fill of being crammed together with too many others in a confined space (you can imagine the smells and noises throughout the night for yourself), and I’m very grateful to have learned how to survive outdoors in wintertime AND to have made friends who will take me into their home when necessary.

I can tell you from firsthand experience of homeless shelters and jails/prisons: Conditions in the typical homeless shelter intended for emergency overnight use are far worse than can be found in any jail or prison! The federal Department of Justice doesn’t hesitate to crack down on jails and prisons which dehumanize inmates — but NOBODY is looking out for the welfare, both physical and psychological, of street people in desperate straits who wind up in substandard facilities.

Yes, yes, I can hear you . . . You’re asking for a better alternative than the current system. Fair enough:

Proposed Tiny House Village in Portland, OR

These single occupancy housing solutions for homeless adults are popping up all over the country in more progressive cities, while Boulder lags behind with the old, discredited model of projects costing many millions of dollars. Consider that a tiny house offers privacy, security, and the opportunity for restful sleep overnight . . . OM Build in Madison, WI can turn out a tiny house for $5,000. Contrast that with the $200,000+ Housing First apartments at 1175 Lee Hill, being touted as permanent supportive housing. Keeping those dollar figures in mind, which do you think is better — one apartment for a program client or forty (40) tiny houses for single men and women who need shelter from the elements?

It should be a no-brainer to pick the best option.