“The question for me is, do we take responsibility for everybody who comes to our community? . . . And that’s a fundamental question that all communities struggle with.” – Greg Harms, Executive Director of Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.
Homelessness is an ongoing problem throughout the country and Boulder is no different. KGNU’s Julia Caulfield talks to the directors of two different programs about how Boulder is addressing this issue.
“We really don’t want to be a youth hostel. . . . [W]e don’t want to make that problem worse by just offering up free housing to people.” – Greg Harms.
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless offers a number of different outreach programs to help the homeless get off the
streets. One program, the overnight shelter, is only available in the winter months when there is the highest risk for injury or death for homeless people. In the summer, the 160 beds available from Boulder Shelter for the Homeless are not available.
“Our emergency warming center; we never turn anyone away. We only really have two rules: you must be able to say your full name, and behave yourself.” -Shanan Collins, Director of Programs for the Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow.
This will cease to be an option this summer because the funding for the emergency overnight shelters provided by Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO) is being rerouted into other homeless programs. The collaboration between BOHO and over 20 different churches to provide overnight shelter will end, making it harder for the homeless to find a safe, or legal, place to sleep.
“A lot of corporations and philanthropists are now turning away from emergency service.” -Shanan Collins.
Eliminating these services for the summer is part of an overall plan to offer more permanent solutions for the homeless. It is a plan that both Harms and Collins agree with, but the day to day impact of not having these services will continue to be a problem because of the camping bans making it hard to find a legal place to sleep.
“[I]f you come and say, ‘I want to change my situation.’. . . [Y]ou’re going to get services reserved for those who want to engage in those kinds of activities.” Greg Harms.