A new update on homeless issues, presented in the context of Boulder County's "Ten-Year Plan to Address Homelessness Progress," deploys an unusual term: "unwelcoming."
See the document, shared as part of the agenda package for tomorrow's Boulder City Council meeting, and get more details below.
The Boulder Daily Camera flagged a section from the executive summary of "local and regional planning efforts to address homelessness, including the Boulder Homelessness Planning Group (BHPG), and rightly so.
The passage notes that the BHPG "has been working to identify and address issues of particular concern to the City of Boulder, including service coordination, data collection, and issues of safety and the unwelcoming environment currently being experienced in the municipal campus area."The word "unwelcoming" wasn't chosen randomly. Indeed, it's used again in a background section of the report -- and in that context, the authors maintain that the problem isn't solely attributable to the city's homeless population. Here's an excerpt:
During the past several months, the BHPG has been developing recommendations for the city to address community concerns of illegal and unwelcoming behavior in the municipal campus and downtown area, often attributed to the homeless [our emphasis]. In addition to the homeless, there are many other people and groups that frequent the municipal campus.Just as interesting are the next lines: "The issues on campus are ones of behavior, not housing status, and strategies to address these issues need to be targeted to the behaviors."
In other words, the problems that concern the BHPG won't be solved by more and better housing or the other efforts typically considered key to addressing homelessness. The text seems to argue that the actions are cultural and must be handled with that in mind.The Boulder Police Department appears to agree: The document references the BPD's view about the "need for more officers to address enforcement issues," in part because "Boulder business owners report an increased homeless presence in areas such as the University Hill business district and Pearl Street Mall."
To that end, the BHPG has been exploring the following options.Continue for more about Boulder's efforts to address homelessness behavior, including more photos and a document.