[Hpn] More faces, less hope: Economy pummeling the homeless & those who serve them

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Thu, 25 Oct 2001 16:16:02 -0400


-------Forwarded Editorial-------

Wednesday, October 24, 2001
The Daily Camera <http://www.thedailycamera.com>
Boulder News Publishing <http://www.bouldernews.com>
[Boulder, Colorado]
Opinion section
Daily Camera Editorial
More faces, less hope

The economy is pummeling the homeless and those who serve them.

For 14 of the first 19 nights of October, the Boulder Shelter for the 
Homeless had to use its overflow site. This year, the shelter has averaged 
79 residents a night. By this time last year, it was averaging 66 residents 
per night. On Oct. 15, the shelter served 111 residents. That was the 
shelter's peak population during the dead of last winter. This year, it has 
yet to get really cold or snowy.

So far this year, the shelter has served 179 different people, up 20 percent 
from last year. According to the shelter, many of these people are homeless 
for the first time. Many have recently lost their jobs and are struggling 
with depression.

Bob Mann, the shelter's director, notes that it's hard to predict trends so 
early in the winter. But he notes some sobering facts: October usually 
brings Boulder at least two beefy snows; this year, there have been none, 
yet still the demand is up. Additionally, the shelter has seen fewer women 
than normal so far. They may be staying in abusive homes, hoping for some 
stability in the wake of Sept. 11. But they will probably come to the 
shelter later.

The shelter has an 84-bed capacity at its main site on North Broadway, plus 
32 "overflow" beds at the city's Iris Center, which is also on Broadway. If 
current trends continue  and there's no reason to think they won't  the 
shelter will be overwhelmed.

Furthermore, while the weakening and terror-fazed economy has created a 
greater demand for the shelter, it has also diminished the shelter's ability 
to meet that demand. Like many local non-profits, the shelter is suffering 
from flattening, or even declining, contributions.

Mann says the shelter is considering how to trim expenses and still 
adequately serve the rising population of homeless. In the long term, the 
shelter hopes to move to a new site, which would allow it to cut transit, 
labor, storage, office and energy costs.

We lose money each day the Boulder Valley struggles to serve a rising 
homeless population with an overtaxed shelter. Worse, we lose hope.

October 24, 2001


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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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