Time for the main event: Encampment and homelessness policy. (Or, if you're the city, "Maintaining Safe and Welcoming Public Spaces") www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Item_6A_-…
That was the staff presentation. Here's my story again, for reference. Same facts but adds a bit of context: boulderbeat.news/2021/01/16/bou…
This context WAS provided in the memo, but not the main body. All of the stuff about why unhoused people are unhoused and why it's a difficult problem to solve came from a city attorney's office memo attached to the packet.
It was honestly night and day, reading that and then the main notes written by other staff.
Weaver reminding council this is a difficult and complex issue that arouses passion. "Treat everyone as if they are bringing their best ideas to the table here," he says.
Some new info in the staff presentation I linked to that seems to contradict the longstanding data/evidence that unhoused persons are more likely to be victims of crime than offenders. But I'll see what Chief Herold has to say (it's hyper-local data from the PD)
Kurt Firnhaber, HHS: "We have assisted many people in exiting homelessness" to programs, rehab, housing, etc. "We've also expanded outreach to individuals" who don't come to the services themselves.
"Despite these efforts, we still have the same or more individuals camping. ... Tonight we have to be careful not to demonize individuals experiencing homelessness, as most engage well."
"What we know is that despite many cleanups of many camps this year, some areas remain overrun with campers," Firnhaber says.
Walking through the process of Coordinated Entry screening. Everyone is offered "Diversion" which is basically, get out of here and don't use our services; those here longer than 6 months can access higher-level services to connect them with rehab, work programs, etc.
Those here for 6 mos. or more with a disability go into the shelter where they wait for housing.
Firnhaber explaining the 6-month policy (which has been widely derided by national and regional experts). We didn't want to place ppl in shelter with no realistic change of getting housing, he says, when housing/vouchers/money is so scarce.
He does repeat a common talking point which I only recently was able to ask national experts about: Do unhoused people flock to where services are? Staff repeat this constantly; experts say it's not true.
People are largely homeless where they live. Or they go where they want to go because they like the place, not the services that are offered. That's according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
We *have* seen more unhoused persons coming to Boulder from Denver, but even according to staff, they're not coming here for the services: They are afraid of Denver shelters, or — during COVID — thought it would be safer somewhere less populated.
Also, as Jen Livovich (a formerly unhoused person who now works to end homelessness) said, the city says people come here for services but then says they are service resistant at the same time, so.... *shrug*
Since October, avg of 30 unused beds per night at the Boulder Shelter (since hotel rooms have been available under federal COVID funding)
NOT included in this presentation (but in the packet and my story) "there are roughly 30 individuals who are suspended at any point from BSH"
BUT the city claims these people aren't camping; they're leaving town (mostly). "Only a portion of these individuals remain in the community," they wrote.
"Many of the people who receive suspensions are traveling through the community, recognize that their options for services and sheltering have become limited, and choose to move to other locations once they are no longer able to stay at the shelter."
"Thus, suspensions from the shelter result in a small percentage of those camping in the community. "
Some "challenges" presented by COVID that lead to camping, according to staff
• Individuals coming from Denver - afraid of Denver shelters
"Some cite COVID fear as reason for not engaging at Boulder shelter"
• Inability to provide in-person services
• Fewer ppl in parks
Also, no room at the jails (so people can't be arrested) and activists passing out tents "which has probably led to more visible camps than we've seen in the past," Firnhaber says.
Young asks about cellphones being handed out to unhoused persons. I *think* because you have to have a phone to go through coordinated entry screening (which you have to do to use emergency winter sheltering)
Ali Rhodes, parks and rec director, drew the short straw to represent staff talking about encampments.

"This data is not 100% perfect or all-encompassing. Not 100% of the debris they pick up (is) reported."
Rhodes: Over 80% of our documented cleanup events include hazardous materials: weapons, human waste, propane tanks, drug paraphenalia
This just in: I don't know how to spell paraphernalia.
The city classifies the size of a camp by the amount of "debris" it removes there.

A small camp = 2 cubic yards or less ("the size of a typical household oven," Rhodes says) Large is 4 cubic yards or more (Rhodes: pickup truck)
"Syringes are often found in public lands," Rhodes says. Sharps containers are provided to those who are camping.
Staff has spent over 5,000 hours on camp removal. This graph shows spending.

"The growing need has not been met with growing resources."
"I have to mention the emotional toll this takes," Rhodes says. Our employees are regularly harassed, and twice have been criminally assaulted.
Friend: Why does it go up and down? Why was 2015 almost nothing? And higher in 2018 than 2020? And lower in 2019?
Rhodes: 2016 was the first year we started using ServPro as a contracted provider. But I don't know, really.
Yates: "Anecdotally, people feel there are more encampments this year then there have been in the past." Do we know that through data?
Rhodes: Yes and no. Info on prior years in anecdotal. "Staff feel like ... across 2020 there were many larger and more visible encampments where as years prior they may have been more dispersed."
2020 was the first year of "consistent" data collection. "Quantifying this is really hard. We're not going to ask staff to count needles as they pick them up."
Firnhaber, as read by Weaver: The county provided 400 phones to unhoused residents, with 500 free minutes each.
Wallach: How deep in open space are we finding camps?
Rhodes: I believe they find them dispersed and throughout the system but the most prevalent locations are Sunshine Canyon and the western edge of Boulder Creek.
Steve Armstead: "It's not uncommon" for us to find camps "in the farthest reaches" of open space — up on Green Mountain, on the back side of Sanitas, etc.
Rhodes circling back to Yates' q: 2020 was lower than 2018 bc they camps weren't being removed early on in the pandemic. (They really started in August)
Young: In 2018, OSMP had the vast majority of expenses. In 2020, that flipped over to parks and rec. Is it possible the 2018 spike in ope space is because perhaps the cost to clean up encampments that are more disbursed is higher?
Rhodes: The largest section in all of the years except for this year is in public works. (Translation: That dept spent the most removing camps.) "We believe that continues to be the largest" segment. "We are seeing more of those large and medium sized encampments in our parks."
Joseph: Are those costs reimbursed by HHS?
Rhodes: I don't believe so. It's operational money across the city.
OK, moving onto part 2 of the presentation.
Which is crime.
Herold starts with this: "These data points do not reflect on the general population of people experiencing homelessness but on a small subset living in the encampments" who have substance use issues and are not able to engage with current services.
Police have spent 9,500 hours responding to calls involving unhoused persons; $500,000 in salary costs or 4.5 full-time officers. Some ~540 calls for service
More than any other type of call.
Brockett has suggested that, instead of police response, providers show up to calls that don't involve violence. They have programs like that in Denver and Oregon. We'll hear more later.
"Crime has significantly and statistically been up since the early times in March," Herold says. Linking this to jail closures; they're not taking any non-violent offenders.
Police are giving serious offenders felony summons (rather than arresting them) "for the first time in Boulder's history," Herold says.
Herold: "The unhoused population is much more vulnerable, and they are disproportionately impacted by crime."
This is in reference to the slides I mentioned earlier that show unhoused victims of crimes — super high relative to their small share of the population
Half of homicide victims are unhoused, for instance. (We have very few homicides in Boulder, to be fair, but still).
11% of total aggravated assaults have a victim who is unhoused.
Brockett: Do we know the % of unhoused population as the total share?
Herold: I will say with confidence it's less than 0.03% of the population
Brockett: So 11% is "many, many times" the unhoused persons' share of the population?
Herold: That's correct.
Wallach: Do we have data showing who is committing crimes against the unhoused?
Herold: "To some degree."
OK, next slide is the one that shows offenders' housing status.
Herold: "I just want to be clear on this. On this slide, we're talking about nothing but known offenders." So not ALL offenders or ALL crimes. "These numbers clearly demonstrate a disproportionate number of offenders who are unhoused."
490 known offenders of these particular crimes. More than half of burglaries, robberies with known offenders, and half of homicides were perpetrated by unhoused persons; 35% of simple assaults and 39% of aggravated assaults (with a weapon)
Herold going over the removal of the camp beneath the library last week.
"In almost every cleanup the city has been engaged in, the police have found evidence of criminal activity," Herold says. But she includes fire pits and "all types of fire implements in that" which... duh. They're going to try and stay warm.
But also bike thefts, which are way up in Boulder.
The community is "really under stress" about encampments, Herold says. It's the No. 1 complaint to police; over 567 reports to Inquire Boulder reporting locations of camps.
Young: There was no data on felony menacing incidents (there were 39). What % of those were committed against unhoused members of the community?
Crap, I missed the answer to that.
Council pausing to answer the question: Do we want to keep enforcing the camping ban?
Friend starts (with a sigh): "First I think we have framed this as a conversation about where people can not be. ... I think it's appropriate to visit the other side of the conversation, which is where is it appropriate for people to be?"
There's nothing in here from the HRC and HAB, and their recommendations. "I'm uncomfortable having this conversation" without that info.
Also, she says the staff memo notes that homelessness disproportionately impacts people of color. We should be careful to do anything that exacerbates racial inequity.
Her voice is shaking a little bit, it sounds like.
"We have lacked community engagement on this. We see a lot of people come and speak at open comment. In my time on council ... there's been no public hearing, no space for people to come in and strategize. ... I don't think we have the right people at the table."
As in, no one here has lived experience of being unsheltered, Friend says.
Brockett: Can we hear from HRC before we begin our discussion?

Joseph asked that they be invited; staff hadn't done so.
Weaver: I feel differently about this. If we say yes we want to enforce it, we can say how will we enforce and what gaps do we have? If we say no, we will say what do we do instead?
"This is a decision we need to make to inform what we do next," Weaver says.
Yates agrees (shocker!): "There's a fork in the road here."

"I'll answer the question. The answer is yes."
Wallach Sigh-O-Meter: 2
Wallach: "It's an unfortunate fact that where the encampments are, the public no longer feels safe going. So we have removed those spaces from public use."
Wallach: If you don't support enforcing the camping ban, you need to say "which areas of the city we want to abandon to that purpose?"
"I am unprepared to surrender those aspects of our open space to public use. We also represent 106,000-plus residents of Boulder. ... I don't think those are illegitimate concerns to say 'I want to be safe in parks.'
Nagle: "I strongly support the camping ban."
Swetlik: "I also agree that we should enforce the camping ban, but only because we shouldn't have the necessity of public camping, period. If we can provide the options that public camping isn't a necessity" then yes we should enforce the camping ban.
Young: "Chief Herold presented some really compelling slides with respect to the harm that is happening" to unhoused persons. The statistics about how many people are suffering from the assaults and burglaries are people living in the camps themselves.
Young: "I also don't see how it's humane to allow ppl living in tents that are storing and using propane tanks." There have been fires. "I have to support enforcement of the camping ban."
Brockett: "Unlike some of my colleagues, I can't start here and give a yes or no answer."
Brockett: I agree it's not OK to allow impromptu camps in our public spaces. The reasons are many; they revolve around public safety. ...
.... The encampments that we've seen are often closely packed together, have fires, they're often in flood ways, and generally no sanitation or other facilities for daily living.
Brockett (still): Many of these encampments could be wiped out by flash floods, or a propane tank explosion. I don't think we can allow ppl to live in those situations.
Certainly, it's not OK to make people go away just because they make some other folks uncomfortable. ... but the issues of weapons, needles and fires are serious.
"It's reasonable for us to protect our parks from needles lying around," Brockett says.
"It's critical for us as stewards of our community and of the safety of our community, that kind of encampment is not acceptable," Brockett says. "The problem is we don't have a suite of services and shelters and places to live that are available to every person."
Brockett: The current system is phenomenal, but there are a number of reasons why they don't work for groups of people. "There are a variety of ways our current services don't meet the needs of people."
We have to figure out safe shelter to make sure people don't fall through the gaps, Brockett says. "We have to talk about alternatives and not just about enforcement."
Joseph: I think again for all of us this is a really, really hard discussion. We've heard some of the pros and cons of the encampments or at least the camping ban.
"My understanding of the camping ban has evolved since I got on council," Joseph says. People in the camps are suffering from "human rights violations."
"I don't think that's the right place for anybody to live. We need more services (and) more effective services," Joseph says.
Joseph: "My worry is we're kicking the problem down the road with the further enforcement. The people come right back the next day, the next month."
"If people are getting better services, whether we have a camping ban or not would not matter," Joseph says.
"Does that make sense?" she asks.
"Suure," Weaver says slowly. LOL
Friend: "I don't think we're being inhumane by trying to make places where children go safe from needles and human feces."

"I just want to have better options for ppl who find themselves in that circumstance. ... Ppl don't opt into homelessness."
Out-of-context quote of the night: "You'd rather be doing drugs in a nice house," Friend says.
Her point was that addiction afflicts housed and unhoused persons alike; it's just that it's more visible among the unhoused because... they don't have a house to do drugs in.
Weaver: We need to protect unhoused persons and the public. It means doing two things: Enforcing the camping ban AND continually improving the "safety net" for vulnerable people.
The camping ban "strikes the right balance," Weaver says. "I also think we need to make certain we're doing everything we can to ensure support for people who need it.
That's a majority, so Boulder will keep enforcing the camping ban. Now we'll discuss how.
Chief Herold: "Mayor, it's clear to me. And we can proceed (with removals) from my perspective."
Moving on... Rhodes talking about this job, now being hired: boulderbeat.news/2021/01/09/bou…
It's been budgeted since 2019, Rhodes says.

I must have missed that in the 300-plus page budget. Or, you know, because it says NOTHING about encampments in the title so....
Council will be discussing staff's recommendations for camping ban enforcement, which include:
Bringing removals in-house (rather than contracting out)
Mandatory minimum sentences for camping ban violators
More cops / urban park rangers
Residential treatment for meth users
Although, interestingly, mandatory minimum sentences are NOT mentioned in the staff presentation. They were in the packet, though.
Rhodes talking now about how to better "activate" the civic area with outdoor events, etc. That includes infrastructure changes.. like fencing and restrooms.

Also building a skatepark under the library.
These efforts are intended to prevent unhoused residents from camping in these spaces.
Also "environmental" changes to the land itself to discourage camping under bridges. This is a rebrand of an idea shot down by the last council for its expense: boulderbeat.news/2019/03/01/bou…
Story from way back in 2019.
"These recommendations are not fully fleshed out" — including the costs, Rhodes says. The costs in the packet ($1.3M for the whole package of cops + courts + cleanup) are "just estimates ... back-of-the-envelope" guesses.
What are those costs?
New police unit:$771,888 annually + $321,600 in start-up costs and $48,600 ongoing annual expenses

Urban park rangers: $70,000-$100,000 annually + $76,000 start-up costs

City clean-up team: $240,000 annually + $80,000 start-up costs*
*minus $170,000 currently being spent on contractors for cleanups

Design changes: $62,500-$125,000

Total: $1.26 million – $1.35 million
Back to Firnahber to talk about "our biggest concern ... from an HHS standpoint" which is meth. Hard to house these people because, well, meth is bad for houses (and people)
Outpatient treatment exists, but as the city attorney's office noted, people are extremely unlikely to get sober without a stable place to live.

So residential treatment is what's needed.
There weren't any cost estimates provided for this. The city would need to buy a home, likely a single-family home, since staff noted "Such facilities are best served through single-family dwellings.”
Staff also noted how hard a sell this will be in Boulder, to neighbors.
Weaver: What's the recommendation? To fund this? To find a location in Boulder?
Firnhaber: This is something we were working toward in 2020 to tackle in 2021
Firnhaber: "This type of facility can happen without the approval of city council. This use can happen in a residential location. ... What's helpful is understanding what kind of support city council would have for this."
Do we start with one pilot? More locations? "It's also doesn't have to be in the city of Boulder," Firnhaber says.

$5 says council will be OK with it then....
Young: If we did a pilot, how many folks could we house in that home?
Kirnhaber: It would be small. Most typically have 4-10 residents. It's very intensive and requires real personalized support.
Firnhaber: Our code would be under 8 residents.

(Correx to spelling his name in the last tweet. Kirnhaber LOL)
Wallach: Can you speak to the success of this elsewhere?
Firnhaber: "It's probably the best approach of anything that's out there right now." But we don't know the numbers.
Wallach: I think it's important to understand ... the degree to which it is effective.
Firnhaber: "I think the starting point is it's a challenge that our city can't ignore. We can continue to ignore it if we want to, but it will have impacts."
Nagle speaks! "I'm just thinking of the North Boulder neighborhood and what had to happen there for the Shelter would go in." How would a location be picked? With the neighbors, "I can imagine how that would turn out."
Firnhaber: We'll look into impacts on neighborhoods where this has been done.
Chris Reynolds, a prosecutor in the city attorney's office, up now. As I said earlier, the city attorney's memo was miles away from the rest of the packet, containing so much context and explanation.
Reynolds is going to talk about mandatory minimum sentences.
"On a per capita basis, ppl who have housing are much less likely to be accused of committing a crime. Unsheltered homeless individuals are also much more likely to be victims of crimes than housed individuals."
"It is much easier to remain law abiding without the stressors of not knowing where you'll sleep, how you'll be able to get your next meal ... or fix .. or whether or not your belongings will be stolen."
The human beings who are unhoused are subject to stress above and beyond the housed community, Reynolds says, and lack the support system to address problems.
Reynolds: I realize mandatory minimum sentences will strike some as heading in the wrong direction. Others welcome it as a long-needed fix.
Referencing closed mental health institutions, which have been replaced by jails and prisons ... the largest institutions of mental health care in our country.

50% of BoCo jail inmates have mental illness.
"The jail is a tool and a resource and not a solution" for the unhoused, Reynolds says. When someone comes in addicted and/or ill, "that is exactly how they come out when they're released."
"It takes time to connect people to resources at the jail and to make a plan for when they are released," Reynolds says.
45-day threshold before ppl can access mental health or addiction services at the jail. Staff said just changing this requirement wouldn't work: Providers need time to establish rapport with residents.
"This is much longer than the average camping sentence ... imposed by the court," Reynolds says.
Reynolds: "It is unrealistic to expect someone staying at some of these encampments" to work on their addiction when they are in a stressful environment, surrounded by drugs and addicts.
Even if we did pursue mandatory minimums, because of state reform, many people can avoid long sentences.

Moreover, Reynolds says, the city does not control programming at the jail.
"Despite its limitations," mandatory minimums "could be a tool" for repeat offenders, Reynolds says. (He's reading from the memo now)
Including this line: “Overrepresentation in the unhoused community of societal harms such as mental illness, drug addiction, trauma, and racism are formidable barriers to using Boulder’s camping law to reduce street homelessness.”
"The criminal justice system alone" cannot solve this issue without access to housing — the ultimate solution.
Friend: Why are we looking at jail in the mix if the goals are treatment and housing? Why not skip straight to treatment and housing, cut jail out?
Reynolds: For folks in the camps, their only point of contact with services is in the criminal justice system. "We have to recognize the resources we have available and try to use them to their best effect."
If it wasn't for the courts, there are lots of folks who would still be living on the street, Reynolds says. (Court navigators have housed ~40 high utilizers) "It's not to punish people, but to engage them."
Friend: It makes more sense to me to add more treatment beds and skip jail. What's the mandatory minimum sentence you're looking at?
Reynolds: The details would have to be worked out, but it would be less than 90 days (the current max) "ballpark estimate" is 30-60 days
Reynolds: It would apply after accumulated convictions
Friend: But the convictions could just be for existing, sort of, in the tent?
Reynolds: Sure. This recommendation is to explore just amending the camping ordinance.
Friend: I'm still unclear, since we already have 90 days max, why is a mandatory minimum helpful. You can already prosecute and ask for 90 days.
Reynolds: "I'm not saying necessarily it would be helpful or be the solution."
He just presented it for exploration, he says.
"It has not been the practice of our office our the court system to recommend lengthy jail sentences for someone who is camping in the past," Reynolds says.
Reynolds: There are ppl emailing in asking the camping ban to be enforced. "From my perspective ... the camping ban has always been enforced."
Friend: Would this be a first?
Reynolds: We don't have any other requirements for mandatory minimum jail sentences. This would be a first.
Does it feel like he doesn't want to do this...? It feels weird, right?
Brockett: More unhoused residents are people of color, so we would end up imprisoning more people of color. Have we run this through our equity tool?
Reynolds: "It would be a factor that would have to be considered."
Brockett: Have we talked to Sheriff Pelle and the jail's opinion on this.
Reynolds: I don't believe we have.
Brockett: The DA?
Reynolds: No.
what the ever-loving heck
Young: What about an alternative sentencing facility?

Not really sure what that is. Like jail-lite?
OHH... like being "sentenced" to a treatment facility rather than jail (I think)
Reynolds: I'm not sure how that facility will operate. "My understanding is it's still essentially a jail."
I repeat: what the ever-loving heck
Wallach: Is the basic point of the minimums to leverage homeless into treatment options? Or is it simply to put people in jail bc of their violations of the camping ban?
Reynolds: "It would be the first one. ... I believe in certain cases punishment is appropriate but in the vast majority of cases I prosecute, people really just need help. Getting them the help they need is extraordinarily difficult."
Ay, dios mio.
Joseph: It's still not clear in my mind... did it used to be 90 days max?
Reynolds: It's 90 days max in the Boulder Revised Code as max punishment for any violation of the code.
Reynolds: "I'm not advocating for any minimum sentencing. I'm exploring the idea of what it would take, what it would look like in practice and the limitations."
"In my professional opinion," 30-60 days would be the best minimum, Reynolds. The max would stay 90 days.
Joseph: "In my view, mandatory minimum is oppressive." They have been used for other crimes, and it has not worked; it has been disproportionately used against certain people.
Joseph: "We're talking about human beings ... I find the whole discussion ... very hard to process."
I agree. Why is it in here if he doesn't believe in it? Who asked for it? (Questions it's my job to answer, I realize. Just thinking out loud.)
Young: "Could we invent a new ... I'm not sure what to call it, but instead of sentencing someone to jail, we see you need help and we're going to provide you with and opp to address your challenges."
Like sentencing someone to a residential treatment center, rather than jail, Young says.
Reynolds: "As a prosecutor, I would love to be able to present ppl with an option like that. We just don't have it."
Reynolds: It doesn't have to be part of a criminal sentence to offer that. If someone wants it, I'm happy to dismiss all charges ... that's been my practice as a prosecutor the last few years. "It's just the resources we have are not ideal."
The memo touched on this. Even under mandatory sentencing, "There is no certainty that … services will be available for them," staff wrote.
The city attorney's office wrote "The number of spots for inpatient drug treatment in Boulder County for unhoused individuals is so limited that it is not a realistic option for most people who could benefit from its use.”
Herold: "Fundamentally, I'm philosophically aligned with" Reynolds.

"This is not a great system for ppl that are addicted to drugs."
Herold: Ppl who understand the addiction cycle... how to break that cycle becomes the pivotal point. Diversion programs ... to me, needs to be explored.
"Writing tickets"... the same concerns (over racial equity) apply, Herold says. "How to get ppl into meth treatment, that they have a space and time to even make that decision that this is a good idea."
"It's troubling for me as a police chief to be enforcing the camping ban without the back end ... of a holistic strategy." ... Writing camping ban tickets, "We can do it in the thousands, and it's not going to stop the cycle" of meth addiction.
OK... so we've got two staff being like, "here's these things we can do. We hate them."
What. The. Ever. Loving. Heck.
Brockett: "To say the only way to help ppl who are suffering from addiction is to imprison them is not something" I can adhere to.
Friend: I appreciate your points, but it's my understanding we already have diversion as an option... I don't know that we need this expanded tool to be able to do diversion. idk why we would consider this.
"We can pay for jail beds or we can pay for rehab beds," Friend says.
Right now in our lobbying agenda, Friend says, we don't have anything advocating for more homeless services. We should change that.
Wallach: "If you don't have any kind of option, you're just writing paper. You might as well take the ticket and throw it into the wind. ... You will be ignored" if there's no threat of consequence.
"Maybe our situation will get better" when the jails open back up and we can jail ppl committing crimes vs. just sleeping outside.
Wallach Sigh-O-Meter: 3
He is "at least in favor of further exploration" of mandatory minimum sentences. "We don't live in the perfect world where we can accommodate every individual with state-of-the-art programs."
"The issue is are you going to enforce the camping ban in any way that has any teeth or not," Wallach says.
Weaver: "I think what we're after is better addiction treatment. ... There's not a lot of appetite to put in a mandatory minimum for camping."
Like the idea of lobbying the state and feds. So it will remain more addiction services in theory... until someone else does something about it.
We're going to hear from the Human Relations Commission. You can read their reports (with the Housing Advisory Board) in this story: boulderbeat.news/2021/01/16/bou…
Basically, they found success with safe parking (which is coming to Boulder this spring) AND safe camping in moving ppl out of homelessness while preventing dangerous and unsanctioned encampments. boulderbeat.news/2021/01/08/bou…
Also (and I'll have more on this later) HRC wants the city to change the way it talks about homelessness (some of the language is degrading; experts agree) and to undertake a survey of why people don't access services
Lindsey Loberg is repping HRC. These are things that "may be actionable," they say. "Those items don't address the substance of our concerns." (You can read more about that here: boulderbeat.news/2021/01/11/bou…
We are very much opposed to the camping ban on the HRC and are "very concerned about human rights," Loberg says.
"We will continue to dissent to this policy because we consider it inhumane," Loberg guarantees.
"None of us have a right to comfort when people don't have the right to shelter in survival. And that is the situation we're stuck with. We don't have the right to comfort until everybody has the right to shelter and survival."
Weaver: "I think it's clear what your position is. I think we got that from the memo. Thank you for that."
Brockett: "I respect you standing up for your principles and the principles of HRC."
Is anyone going to mention that HRC/HAB found safe encampments and parking can HELP? And that staff's report on those options (back in July) were lacking major data and context?
Brockett: We as a city don't have the resources to address these issues the way they deserve to be addressed.
Loberg: "When we're talking about language, we're talking about idea construction. ... Language is used to uphold entire ideas that can be dehumanizing."
One example is the use of the term "service resistant." The concept as it's sometimes applied... to talk about everybody who does not use services as service resistant can be dehumanizing bc it removes the context.
"Often the services just don't work for ppl or they're not able to use them. (That term) can assign reluctance or obstinance to ppl that may or may not be there and distracts from the issue."
National experts on homelessness were very clear on this: Service resistant is not a thing, they say. The system either meets ppl where they are (and works) or it doesn't.
Young clarifying that the city isn't committing to actually collecting data on why ppl don't use the system; they just will "look into it."
Classic Boulder.
Council will talk more about this at Friday/Saturday's retreat.
Young/Brockett are the ones who worked with HRC to ONLY bring forward suggestions that had the potential to win majority council support
Pretty sure Young just said that houselessness might be a "galactic" problem.
Dude, it's not even a global problem! Plenty of places provide enough (affordable) housing for everyone.
Weaver on HRC's proposals: "I think all of them have significant legs."
Wallach: I certainly appreciate you have a dif view on our policies ... I will make one comment. ... I would disagree with your use of the term comfort. ... I don't think this is the matter at all. This is about safety for most people. ...
"It's belittling the seriousness of the problem we face."
Wallach Sigh-O-Meter: I lost count. 3? or 4?
Joseph: I think what she was saying (They actually use they pronouns, which I know bc I fucked it up) is that as long as some people are not secure in a community, the whole community will feel insecure.
Just been informed that it was climate change Young said could be a galactic issue, not homelessness. Which makes slightly more sense.
Friend RE: safe camping suggested by Brockett: "I'm going to be irritated if we said we'll get to that later and then we say it's too late to get to it. There are humans that have to exist somewhere." We never discussed the HAB/HRC report.
Wallach disagrees: To do justice to those solutions requires a full conversation.
Wallach Sigh-O-Meter: 1 more than last time
"My new of concluding the conversation tonight is not too cut if off but to give it it's full measure," Wallach says.
Reminder: Council majority already turned down safe camping and parking in September (ish)
"I hate to give short shrift to any of the proposals simply bc the hour is late," Wallach says.
Friend: "Short shrift is better than no shrift."
Friend: We're just giving direction to staff tonight. The safe parking report we got in July, a pretty important piece was "sliced out. ... We don't actually have the data on outcomes."
Brockett: I think we should either stop soon or go really long. I'm not willing to say 3-4 perceived easy ones and say yes or no without talking about the whole range of services.
"We have to have that full services discussion before we talk about any additional enforcement," Brockett says.
Nagle: "I can tell you I'm not going to be on here much longer. ... This is not an easy thing to do after an 8-hour day. I'm not going to be making smart decisions."
Truer words were never spoken.
Weaver: Why don't we tackle cleanup, not enforcement. Do we continue with ServPro or take it internal?
Did Yates leave? I don't see him and Weaver just said "Bob *would* vote yes" not that he did.
Bro, I started a Zoom meeting at 8 a.m. this morning. Don't talk to me about fatigue.
6-11 (ish)

That's 9.5 hours of zoom
Young asked a question I did not follow, and Rhodes answered: It is a way of restructuring the work we've already been doing in a way that we think is more cost effective and efficient.
Swetlik: For me, it's chicken and the egg. You allocate $$ for diversion or for cleanup. I can't say yes to this without knowing what potential diversion we might want to fund.
Let's look at that cleanup proposal, shall we?
City clean-up team: $240,00 annually + $80,000 start-up (minus $170K currently being spent on cleanups with contractor)

So... $80K startup + $170,000 annually
More than what we're spending now
Brockett: "Unless we're dealing with all of it, I'm not willing to pick and choose."
Weaver: "I think council is all over the place on this."
So I think we're going to schedule a special meeting to talk more about policy changes.

Yates IS gone and "generally" supported staff's recommendations.
Per Weaver.
Firnhaber: "These topics are all huge. We need to figure out how to prioritize what we'll focus on. I hope that next meeting will do that."
Weaver: "I think everyone listened and we should continue to work toward solutions we can mostly get behind. ... Every city is struggling with this."
The change in federal housing policy (about half the $$ for housing) got us to where we are now, Weaver says.
No mention of local housing policy.
That's it for this incredibly long thread. Perhaps one of my longest ever. @threadreaderapp please unroll.

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More from @shayshinecastle

20 Jan
A quick touch on Macy's agreements before we head into the homelessness discussion. On the consent agenda are that company's agreements to pay an extra $3M into the affordable housing fund, and offer below-market-rate commercial space to retailers.
Some flexibility written in there in case "the mall is torn down" and there's no longer retail there, Carr says.
Wallach: "Why wouldn't the remedy for that condition be affordable office (space)" as opposed to nullifying the requirement to provide affordable space?
Carr: "We don't know there will be office space there either."
Wallach: "I'm uncomfortable with this expiration cause."
Read 14 tweets
20 Jan
Here's the open comment speaker list. Some new, some old names up there. I can't imagine how many people signed up; only 20 ppl get picked, via random lottery. www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/January_1…
"How much is enough in CU's insatiable appetite for growth?" Ron DePugh asks to start us off. "Is Boulder's real destiny to be absorbed and subordinated" to CU's growth?
10/10 for drama
Read 43 tweets
20 Jan
Patrick O'Rourke is here from CU.
I hate to say this, but this dude always puts me to sleep.
O'Rourke: "The spring semester, we have the same degree of anxiety and uncertainty as we saw in the fall."

CU is remote right now, until Feb. 15 (to some degree)
The infection rate in Boulder is currently below the 350 per 100K ppl, "which is great. ... We hope the infection rate will continue to abate" at which point we would bring students back.
Read 25 tweets
20 Jan
Oh, is there a #Boulder city council meeting tonight? I almost forgot.

J/K. I've been teasing it for a month. Tonight's agenda: Homelessness and encampments. Bone up. (tee hee) boulderbeat.news/2021/01/16/bou…
Also, before that, you might be interested in hearing an update from/on RTD and one from CU RE: spring semester plans.
No public hearing tonight, but there is open comment, so I expect community members to air their grievances there.
Read 34 tweets
19 Jan
I'm going to share an email exchange I had over unhoused persons and encampments, in response to this story I wrote over the weekend. boulderbeat.news/2021/01/16/bou…
I'm sharing it because I want people to know how I approach what I’m doing. Why do I report the things I do? What context, facts and perspectives am I considering? What should YOU consider?
I’m going to thread it out, but also share photos of the original email and my response (because it's a long thread). I’m not hiding the person’s name; they didn’t have one attached to the email.
Read 40 tweets
13 Jan
OK, gonna start a new thread for this one: A look at council's priorities, what's been achieved so far and what's coming up this year.
This will also include a look at Department work plans for 2021. Only 1 dept reported having capacity for additional work items: The municipal court.
Read 84 tweets

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