Tag Archives: transients in Boulder County

‘Public safety in focus . . .’ Since when does Boulder city staff give a damn?

HELP BOULDER COUNTY’S OWN HOMELESS MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN — NOT MARIJUANA TRAVELERS AND SEX OFFENDERS!

By Max R. Weller

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

Two homeless men, who refused to give their names, share a bite to eat while sitting in Central Park in Boulder.

Two homeless men, who refused to give their names, share a bite to eat while sitting in Central Park in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

The Boulder City Council held a lengthy workshop session during its meeting on Tuesday, aimed at fine-tuning the new management plan for the city’s homeless shelter.

That plan has been drafted and redrafted through the fall, as the city and the shelter attempt to agree on operational terms that satisfy the shelter, the people who live near it and officials who are working to implement a new homelessness strategy.

Reaching a draft that leaves all those parties feeling good has proved to be very difficult in recent months, and the lingering discomfort of some players in this process was on full display at times during Tuesday’s discussion — particularly on the issue of “sexually violent predators” in north Boulder.

No decisions were made following the council’s hearing, as the council was giving guidance to City Manager Jane Brautigam, who is tasked with negotiating on a management plan with the shelter that sits along north Broadway near Lee Hill Road.

That negotiation process is nearing an end, though, and the assumption at the meeting was that the council might not reconvene on this issue until June.

Following a “good neighbor” meeting on Oct. 2 with north Boulder residents who live near the homeless shelter, administrators proposed dialing back some operational changes in order to address concerns they heard at the meeting.

At the meeting, neighbors learned of a plan that would see the shelter open 160 beds year-round for homeless people classified as having “moderate” or “high” needs.

The shelter would operate within the larger homelessness strategy that de-emphasizes emergency services and requires homeless people seeking help to register with a “coordinated entry” system that aims to refer people to appropriate paths out of homelessness or toward agencies that can help them.

More than 500 people have completed the coordinated entry screening to date, according to Karen Rahn, the city’s director of Human Services.

The shelter is primed to undergo some significant operational changes, beyond becoming more of a year-round site. It would also eliminate “clean and sober” requirements and amend the way it handles people deemed by the state to be “sexually violent predators,” of which there were four at one point last summer.

It would also eliminate morning services — such as showers and breakfast — for walk-up clients (Emphasis is mine — MRW), and forbid shelter clients from leaving and re-entering the facility during the daytime except in cases where those clients had appointments or otherwise important business to handle.

“If all you want in the community is a shower and a locker and you’re not interested in services, no, there is not a place to go,” Rahn said of this likely change at the shelter, describing the general point of “coordinated entry.” (Emphasis is mine — MRW.)

Some neighbors of the shelter spoke during the public hearing about the various ways in which they feel unsafe living nearby. One man talked about a homeless man found staying in his basement, while another woman said that her son is regularly harassed on the way to school by homeless people offering drugs and alcohol.

“It sounds like so many disagree with what we’re doing,” said Mirabai Nagle, the councilwoman who was elected in November. “If (neighbors) just aren’t happy, and they inundate us with this amount of emails, to me that says we’re doing something wrong, possibly.

“Are we serving our residents who are homeless or are we serving a greater influx of transients? I don’t know if our infrastructure and budget are set up for this.”

Several veteran council members went around explaining to Nagle the “context” for Tuesday’s discussion, related to the broader homelessness strategy.

But even after that, Nagle turned to the neighbors in the crowd and said, “Does this make sense to you?”

Audience members shook their heads and one shouted something before being shushed by Mayor Suzanne Jones.

“We hear you,” Jones said to the neighbors. “It’s a balancing act of trying to figure it out. We appreciate your input.”

There was some discussion later at the meeting of whether that section of north Boulder needs its own police annex.

“I certainly understand the neighbors’ concerns up there in wanting more police presence,” police Chief Greg Testa said to the council. “But I have the staff that I have and we have to answer 911 emergency calls for service throughout the entire city, so I cannot just assign officers to patrol the area of the shelter.”

Jones said to Testa that he should let the council know if he needs more resources to keep the community safe, and Testa thanked her for that, but added that it would be a challenge to hire more officers even if the money were there, due to officer shortages in the area.

Some citizens said that cellphone coverage is spotty in parts of north Boulder, which makes them feel even less safe. Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said that she walks the area frequently and can confirm the service is “really bad.”

The council agreed upon one way they think they can make things safer: limiting the number of “sexually violent predators” who live at the shelter at any one time to one. That was an idea that came from Councilman Aaron Brockett and, while it was not final — as nothing was Tuesday — it did seem popular among the members.

——————————————————————————— 

Regarding the parts of this story I italicized above, the Homeless Philosopher himself will be banned from Boulder Shelter for the Homeless despite having been a morning visitor there for almost a decade — without ever receiving a single disciplinary consequence for any inappropriate behavior. Most of the residents at this facility can NOT make that claim, so I’m wondering now if my friend R. was spot on when she said to me: “Max, you have a bulls-eye on your back. The shelter wants to get rid of you!”

Generally speaking from my years of experience, the walk-up homeless clients at 6AM who seek a hot shower, access to a small locker, and a hot breakfast (which I only rarely eat) are NOT troublemakers when compared with BSH residents staying in the facility overnight. BUT, ending so-called morning services is low-hanging fruit that both city staff and the executive director, Greg Harms, can  grasp and point to as their effort to ensure the safety of residents, workers, business owners, and customers in the neighborhood. It’s horse pucky, of course:

Scooped up by Karen Rahn.

(BTW, I have friends among all of those neighborhood groups listed above, and I wish that city staff would ask them about me. And the newspaper, too.)

But, I digress . . .

The REAL problem here is that the new and highly-touted Coordinated Entry for homeless shelter / services is a sham. It’s the same worst-behaved transients without ties to Boulder County who are being given a hearty welcome, and Boulder County’s own homeless people continue to be shortchanged. Yes, we have been LIED to by the bureaucrats and the nonprofit do-gooders alike. And most Boulder City Council members seem to be willing to play along . . . Furthermore, of the 500+ people who have been screened to date, you can depend on NOT a single one of them finding permanent housing and remaining in it long-term — 5 years, let us say. ALL of them will recycle through the system over and over again, which guarantees JOB SECURITY for everyone involved in running this con game.

 True now more than ever! 

Advertisements

9 times out of 10, a transient’s “service dog” is FAKE!

BTW, so-called “emotional support” animals are NOT recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act: Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. See more info here.

— MRW

Boulder Shelter policy zigs and zags, who can predict what it will be?

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 residents during a "Good Neighbor" meeting hosted by the Boulder

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.)

‘Man hit in the head with a crowbar at Boulder’s Eben G. Fine Park, police say’

Read the latest news of Peace and Love among the worst-behaved transients in our city in the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:

Douglas Baker

Douglas Baker (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office / Courtesy Photo)

A Boulder homeless man is facing assault charges after police say he hit a man over the head with a crowbar at Eben G. Fine Park on Monday after an argument about the park’s bathrooms.

Douglas Christopher Baker, 32, has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault and is being held at the Boulder County Jail on a $500 cash bond. He is due for a formal filing of charges on Thursday.

According to Boulder police spokeswoman Laurie Ogden, Baker got into an argument with a 41-year-old man at Eben G. Fine Park, 101 Arapahoe Ave., about Baker locking the bathrooms at the park.

Ogden said during the argument Baker struck the other man in the back of the head with a crowbar. The man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, but was able to talk to police.

Baker was taken into custody at 9 p.m. Monday.

Ogden said she did not know if the alleged victim was also a transient, but said it does appear that both men knew each other.

According to court records, Baker has a lengthy criminal history in Boulder County that includes arrests for assault, burglary, drug possession, theft, trespassing and harassment.

————————————————————————————— 

What more can be said about the typical senseless violence that goes on in Boulder’s BUM community? Most homeless people don’t go to Eben G. Fine nor to any of the other BUM hangouts any longer because of it.

Yet, we have clueless do-gooders with their new “Coordinated Entry” for BUMS, which comes down to ENABLING more of the worst-behaved transients as they prey on others. The victims are generally other homeless people they perceive as vulnerable (although it’s not clear from the story if that’s true in this case), but ordinary citizens can get clobbered over the head, too.

— MRW

‘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.

———————————————————————————— 

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

Indigenous Peoples Day in Boulder, CO

Perhaps you’re wondering how the worst-behaved transients feel about the Native Americans:

Clothes and gear drying out on the Chief Niwot statue.

While we can’t allow transients to freeze to death here during wintertime, and therefore need adequate emergency overnight shelter available on a walk-up basis, the goal should be to assist them in returning to wherever they came from — other counties in Colorado or even other states. As far as I can determine, this is NOT the focus now. WTF?

— MRW