in case you missed it | Support the homeless! (Just not here)

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Support the homeless! (Just not here)

The Boulder Homeless Shelter’s Housing First program taps into federal dollars to provide housing to the chronically homeless. The idea is that by getting transients off the street, you give them the stability they need to drag themselves out of their ruts and better their lives. In theory, it’s an easy idea to support, but one of the problems officials run into is finding landlords who are willing to take tenants with such checkered pasts and unstable futures.

So Housing First decided to bypass the middleman and build their own housing complex in North Boulder, where they could shelter the chronically homeless without dealing with nervous landlords. But neighbors of the proposed development showed up at the Dec. 13 Boulder City Council meeting to protest the building by dressing in white shirts. Proponents of the idea dressed in black shirts.

Hmmm. Residents at the meeting claimed to be concerned about “lack of public process,” according to news reports from the meeting, but their reasoning is more than transparent: It’s OK to help homeless people; just don’t do it in my backyard.

It’s easy to criticize the North Boulder residents for being heartless, but considering the mindset (and socioeconomic status) of this city, who in Boulder would enthusiastically sign off on this in their ’hood?

Seems like yet another Boulder example of talking the talk and not walking the walk.

But unless a neighborhood steps up and welcomes Housing First’s building with open arms, we’re withholding judgment. A little public debate never hurt anybody.

Occupy this

We’re glad to see that the county commissioners are not bringing down the hammer immediately on the Occupy Boulder tent dwellers camped in front of the courthouse on the Pearl Street Mall.

Sure, the commissioners have to try to treat everyone equally when it comes to rules about camping, but sometimes exceptions should be made, and this is one of those times. It may be putting the commissioners in an awkward position to have to pick and choose which situations deserve a hard-line stance, but hey, that’s why they were elected, to use good judgment.

Too bad the campers are still subject to the city’s idiotic camping ordinance, which requires the occupiers to take shifts sleeping so that someone can remain on alert to ensure that cops don’t catch anyone with their eyes closed, God forbid.

How many people camping on the Pearl Street Mall would it take for the county and city to reconsider their rules when it comes to things like constitutionally protected assembly and homelessness?

What if it were 100 people?

1,000? 10,000?

It will be interesting to see if this Occupy movement gains momentum when the weather improves in the spring, and what the government’s response is.

At some point, thanks to our founding fathers (and in no small part due to our right to bear arms), our elected officials must listen to the people — or face expulsion, one way or another.