It' a lovely Tuesday evening for a #Boulder city council meeting.

We've had a bit of a change-up in the agenda: No homelessness stuff tonight. It's been moved to next week, a special meeting (which means no open comment).
We DO have open comment tonight, tho, so I would expect to hear from folks about homelessness.
There's one main agenda item tonight: Marpa House. There will be a public hearing and council vote on the reuse of this space from communal living to 16, 3-bedroom units. Neighbors are opposed.
There are ~40+ speakers (though some have pooled time) so.... it's gonna be a long public hearing.
Not sure how much I'll tweet, tbh. I'll prob concentrate on council's deliberations and vote, so it may be a quiet night from me.
Friend and Weaver apparently absent. I saw Friend's email; not sure where Weaver is, or if he's coming later.

Pro tem Joseph running the meeting tonight.
OK, Weaver will be coming later, Joseph says. As will Yates. (Didn't even notice he was gone.)
Only 9 ppl for open comment tonight, which is somewhat surprising.,_20…
DeWitt Boice here with a permitting issue that involves a public utilities easement, a city lease, denied applications and a lawsuit over .... a sign.

This is the kind of shit I signed up for when I became a city gov't reporter.
Tom Carr replying to that. "Their reconstruction of the sign was, in staff's view, a complete reconstruction."

City defending a lawsuit right now.
Carr also responded to an earlier speaker about Boulder's online petitioning system, with 2 of 3 campaigns opted not to use this year. Bedrooms Are For People is, and "we expect it to qualify for the ballot this week," Carr says.
"The system has withstood 6,500 bot attacks we’ve been able to ID and stop. The system is working very well," Carr says.
I wrote about the online system recently:…
Wallach Sigh-O-Meter racheting up quickly. 0 to 3 in 60 seconds.
He's lamenting the need of a court case to resolve a dispute over the permitting of an office building sign. (Or maybe a retail center sign?) Either way: A sign.
I wish council was this kind of stuff all the time.
Bunch of call-ups. I think we're only going to talk about the Shining Mountain Waldorf project. Reminder: (it's been a while) They're consolidating their NoBo campus and selling off part of their land for housing. The bit along Broadway/Violet, I believe.
I wrote about this way back in Jan. 2019:…
As planner Elaine McLaughlin says, it's been in the city planning process since at least 2018.
Shining Mountain Waldorf is redeveloping its campus as part of this project (not just consolidating, as I said earlier). Here's the staff presentation, in case you care:…
And here's a thread of the Planning Board hearing on this, courtesy of a very dedicated resident:
Wallach Sigh-O-Meter: 4
Some qs from him: The homes built on the site will be subject to our inclusionary zoning requirements, correct?
Yes, McLaughlin says.
Brockett wishes there were more housing units planned here, given that it's along a transit corridor.

Nagle wishes the school well with the project. (She's an alumnus.)
Weaver: It's a good project, even if there's not as much density as some would hope.
This item was on the consent agenda, which has passed unanimously. But we're taking a minute for a presentation on one item, which is a pledge to coordinate with the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative.
Some good info in there, particularly on the number of homeless veterans in BoCo: 93 homeless veterans in 2020 in BoCo (vs. 34 in 2019)
That's the first goal for this new collaboration and participation in a national Built for Zero campaign (to end homelessness so that it becomes "brief, rare and non-recurring"
BoCo will start with the veteran population for that Built for Zero goal.
Jamie Rife from MDHI is here. She spoke with Boulder Beat recently, to say that Boulder's six-month residency requirement is an outlier, and to myth-bust the frequent claims that there is a "national network" of unhoused ppl who travel somewhere specifically for services.
That IS true *regionally,* Rife noted, which is why collaboration is so important.…
And one of the biggest sticky wickets in Boulder, where 50%+ of unhoused individuals have been in BoCo for fewer than 6 months. A big portion are from elsewhere in the Denver metro.
Boulder has responded by buying bus tickets for these ppl to get them out of town. Many remain, however, and they are living unsheltered and therefore subject to frequent removals.
That's one of Boulder's big arguments against providing service for this group: They might collaborate with MDHI, but they're not getting any resources to house and/or otherwise serve non-Boulder residents.
The collaboration is mostly in sharing data and/or systems.
Obviously a v complicated topic. I've written a dozen-plus stories, and I feel like I capture a different angle every time. Hard to pin it down.
I'm trying, though. Good lord, am I trying.
One more bit on the movement of unhoused ppl: Clearly, they ARE traveling to Boulder. The data shows that. But the distinction is WHY they are traveling.

There is a persistent narrative that they're coming here FOR services.
Experts say this is just not true. They come here for the reasons HOUSED people do: Weather, culture, etc. Important to remember that tons of housed non-Boulderites ALSO have moved to Boulder.
This distinction matters, bc the argument is frequently used against expanding more services (that it would draw people here).
I will keep de-bunking this until I die, probably.
Joseph: Is there a push for some national support? Will it inform national efforts?

Rife: "I think it will make more ppl aware of the importance of data and knowing by name the people experiencing homelessness in your community and what they need."
So, yes, Rife says, "I think there's a lot to be said there, particularly for national resources."
Weaver asking about Boulder's policy of "reunification" — that is, buying plane and train tickets out of town for non-residents, placing them with services and/or family and friends.

Boulder doesn't track the outcomes. Weaver asking what other cities do.
Rife: "I'm not sure anyone has a great answer on that. Colorado has the best answer" bc it utilizes one central system for data.
This process of reunification is called Diversion.

Rife: "As a country we haven't gotten to a place where we have one data system that tracks one person across state lines."
But the goal is to keep people from re-entering homelessness, she says. Which... we don't know if that's happening or not, bc we don't have the data.

Outreach workers told Boulder Beat recently that ppl do, in fact, end up homeless again:…
But, again, not clear how often that happens bc we don't have data. Only 17% of people offered diversion actually use it, though, so it's not a popular option.
One note based on my expertise with trauma, specifically within a family: If you end up homeless, it's VERY likely that you've either burned all your bridges with friends and family, or your family was shit to begin with (starting you on the road to homelessness)
Victims of childhood trauma are vastly over-represented among unhoused individuals.

Speaking as a survivor of childhood trauma, I would rather be homeless than be forced to live with my family of origin again. I left for a reason.
Again, another tricky issue.

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More from @shayshinecastle

5 May
City Attorney update: 12 applications received.
HR recommending 6 of those advance. Council will receive the candidate materials, with ID'ing info redacted.
Reminder: Tom Carr retiring at the end of June.
Council is going to independently rank those, as they did with the city manager recently.

The top candidates will be interviewed by council members the week of May 17.
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5 May
Marpa House, up now. Here's the staff presentation:…
Again, it's being reused from communal living to separate units. (16 3BR units) Overall occupancy will decrease from 50 to 48

Planning Board voted unanimously to OK, with some conditions (on-site management, etc.)
The new name will be Ash House. Here's the property owner's presentation:…
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It sounds like there's a coordinated effort to disrupt Bob Yates' talk at the Highland City Club. I can hear sirens, clanking and shouting in the background. And perhaps the slamming of doors.
I'd get down there, but I have support group after. And I have a feeling I'm going to need it.
Well, shit, I'm gonna have to go down there.
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Oh, well now she's addressing it.
Making an equity argument about where this campground will go. Prob not where there are million-dollar homes, but where the working-class ppl live which will "lower that area further."
That's a Young talking point that Joseph was persuaded by, she says.
Read 17 tweets
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Alright, the big one: Encampments. Or, as the city is calling it, "Update on Approaches to Safe Space Management of Public Areas and Sanctioned Camping"…
I see they've dispensed with "maintaining safe and welcoming open spaces," as it was being referred to previously.

Of course, this is an evolution of a conversation we've had at council before.
As Kurt Firnhaber is reminding us now.

You can read the recent story, which has links to past coverage in it.…
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Time for our spring financial update. Presentation here:…
As you may remember, Boulder cut $29M from its 2020 spending plan due to COVID.…
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