Spencer Downing and Bobby Pelz Jr.: Homelessness: Boulder Shelter for the Homeless Weighs in on ACLU Lawsuit
The recent announcement that the ACLU filed a lawsuit to rescind the city’s camping ban caused ripples throughout the community.
And rightfully so. For stakeholders providing housing and emergency services to the unhoused, the lawsuit underscores the implications of sheltering versus long-term housing.
At the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, the city’s only facility open to individuals of all sexes over the age of 24, we strongly identify with the ACLU’s passion to decriminalize homelessness. The lawsuit alleges that temporary shelter cannot fully meet the dynamic needs of the unhoused. The Shelter agrees, which is why we determined long ago that the only solution to homelessness is long-term housing.
The ACLU’s lawsuit, like the Shelter itself, exists as a response to crisis. We are the wealthiest society on earth, yet we accept a reality in which too many lack access to the basics. It’s understandable that we would argue over limited resources and dispute how best to allocate access and privilege.
In our 40-year experience, we can spend untold money on shelters and not be any closer to ending persistent homelessness. Prioritizing emergency shelter over permanent housing is like trying to fly a one-winged plane: We need both, urgently.
Since 2017, the Shelter has moved hundreds of chronically homeless individuals off the streets and into housing, and provided proof of concept to other communities on the impact of Housing First. We’ve done this while concurrently managing a 160-bed shelter facility every night with overflow capacity at area hotels.
We support the work done by our fellow agencies, including the plaintiffs. We are all working toward the same ends: serving the least advantaged, most vulnerable members of our community.
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless interim CEO
Bobby Pelz Jr.
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless board president
Howard Sargent: Health care: Boulder is lucky to have Boulder Community Health
At 86, I was surprised to find myself in the Boulder Community (Foothills) ER this past week. I was admitted for treatment and released after nearly a week in BCH.
What an eye-opener! During my stay I had some interaction with perhaps two dozen people: aides, many nurses, food service and technicians and hospitalists and attending physicians.
In virtually every encounter, the people were friendly, caring and clearly competent. The impression left, especially by the younger staff, left me much more optimistic about the future of America and our precious democracy.
I came home with the sense that I couldn’t have had better care and treatment anywhere on Earth. We, in Boulder, have a gem there!
Hank Shaw: Marshall Fire: Why hasn’t the cause of the blaze been determined?
Just wondering … after five months and still no cause has been given for the Marshall Fire by the Boulder County Sheriff.
Xcel Energy? Coal seam? 12 Tribes?
Art Hirsch: Bolder Boulder: Race needs to stop using plastic, use sustainable alternatives
It was great running again at the Bolder Boulder.
My challenge to the Bolder Boulder organizers is to stop using any plastic for the event.
There is too much plastic being used for water bottles, the goodie bags and food packaging.
Let’s get away from this plastic waste and look for more sustainable alternatives.
Preston Padden: Water use: Lafayette urges conservation but approves new homes
The City of Lafayette is taking steps to deal with the water crisis — telling residents to water lawns infrequently and announcing that this summer, parents and kids will not be able to enjoy the beloved paddle boats at Waneka Lake.
But at the same time the city is approving thousands of new homes — each of which will put further strain on our water supply.
My neighbors and I understand the need for the water-saving measures. But we don’t understand why that policy does not extend to approving so many new homes.
D. R. Mayer: Climate change: City of Boulder must require more steps be taken
As we know, our planet is being utterly transformed by climate change, and we may well be in the sixth great extinction.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the world must remove 10 gigatons of currently existing CO2 each year if we are to avoid climate disaster. This is twice what the U.S. emits from burning fossil fuels.
If the Boulder City Council is at all serious about helping address the issue, there are many steps it can take:
First and foremost, plant trees. How about an ordinance that mandates two trees be planted/paid for to replace each one removed, either by the city or county or private citizens? Carbon sequestration is absolutely necessary and well/best done by trees. Money can be given instead, to be used, say, to restore forest in the Amazon.
Secondly, make it hard to drive into Boulder and easy to take public transportation.
Relatedly, I beg the city/county to ban single-use plastics. The sight of thousands of plastic sacks being used each day at local groceries is just plain appalling. And totally unnecessary. Require fast food joints to use compostable containers and recyclable utensils. And how about using the wax paper straws we had as kids? Also, how about mandating that stores be required to stock things packed in plastic alternatives — like laundry soap and dish soap (comes in cardboard) and coconut oil, etc., packed in glass.
We can each do our part to do the right thing, but government must act to make more effective changes possible
D. R. Mayer