My connection to Homelessness
While I have not been homeless, I have been touched by a number of people in our community who have been unhoused or are still struggling to find stable housing. Even during periods of instability and uncertainty in my own life, I’ve been able to count on my family and network of friends to never give me a second thought that I’d be taken care of. At the city level, we need a social safety net to protect people from the effects of poverty, homelessness, and domestic violence as we help transition people to sustainable living.
solutions for our open space
Many residents in Boulder have concerns about the impacts of homelessness on our open space, bike paths, and underpasses. We need to ensure safety and enjoyment for everyone in public spaces. Our current strategy and resources are not meeting the needs of people using open space and not meeting the needs of people who are sleeping or camping unhoused. Often the first point of contact for unhoused people is with the police, but we need to continue to shift our approach to using more trained human services professionals who are focused on addressing physical and mental health challenges of many who do not have permanent shelter. Our goal needs to be offering help of shelter or transportation options to keep people from being fined or jailed due to poverty.
Shelter and services
To aid our challenges in the summer, I support proposals to add year-round shelter options. Year-round service is important as a method for transitional housing into more stable situations and for accommodation temporary causes of homelessness. The changes to the city’s plan for homelessness this year have been challenging to our most vulnerable citizens and we must recognize the city’s responsibility to partner with faith groups and nonprofits to help.
The city’s goal needs to focus on exit strategies from homelessness and transitions to stable housing—the solution to homelessness is a home. We constantly make tradeoffs from serving the most people to serving fewer people well, and should focus on solutions that all lead to people becoming housed. Success should measured by how many new housing opportunities we can create, reducing recidivism and addressing mental health issues often tied to chronic homelessness. We should consider expanding our housing voucher program which is the fastest way to get people housed, as well as looking at ways to prevent discrimination against people using housing vouchers. For longer-term solutions, the city needs to seriously consider opportunities to construct housing that will help address chronic demand in the city.