Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Council Looking for Ways to Increase Hobos Downtown

by Osman Parvez

This is a controversial topic.   I'm probably going to offend some people.   I'm still diving in...

Last week, the Daily Camera published Message to Boulder Council: Fight homeless with more housing.   Here's the lede:  

The solution to homelessness is housing.

That was the message the Boulder City Council heard from a series of speakers...

If that's the primary message Council is getting, no wonder they're tone deaf to the community's outrage.    The comments section nails it.   Here's the top rated one: 

Oh give me a break. My wife can't even walk down the creek path any more with our kids because it is a skid row for drunk and drugged hobos. There are zero "families" down there that need assistance. 


Look, I'm all for helping families down on their luck, but Boulder needs to open its eyes to the homeless who have taken over the downtown area, making it completely uncomfortable for families. If you keep creating services, they will keep coming and ruining the quality of life here.

I've heard this sentiment echoed from friends and family.  I've heard it from clients.   It's no joke. 

Look, I'm 6'2" and about 190 lbs.  I don't feel comfortable walking past groups of transients.   It's not that I'm offended by their frequent solicitations, even when it's blatantly for drugs ("Hey man, give me your weed.") It's the transients with mental health issues that concern me.  It's the potential for violence.  It's a real issue.  What does it take for Council to wake up and pay attention.  Click the links in this paragraph for examples. 

The solution starts with a panhandling ban and followed by a reduction in incentives for the transient population.  City Council knows it. They lack the guts to pass the measure.   

There's a well known economic principle that homeless advocates ignore:   When you subsidize something, you get more of it.    It's that simple.  

As a progressive, caring community - we need to support a safety net for residents and fewer incentives for transients to relocate here.   If you want to deepen the safety net, support the  Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA).   This organization provides a range of services for residents who are in need. 

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