[Hpn] Shelter moves to a new bulding

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sun, 7 Dec 2003 13:52:56 -0500

Shelter makes 'cheery' move
New building has twice the room for Boulder homeless
By Berny Morson, Rocky Mountain News
December 6, 2003
BOULDER - An army of volunteers today will move the local homeless shelter
into a $5.6 million building with sunshine yellow walls and picture windows.
"It's as cheery as you can get in a homeless shelter," Jennifer Hughes, the
shelter's development director, said Friday.
The opening ends a bitter struggle over where to put a replacement for the
present shelter, a rundown former motel in a neighborhood of body shops and
industrial buildings on Boulder's north side.
Neighborhood opposition killed a plan to put the shelter in a former
sorority house near the University of Colorado.
The new building is two blocks north of the old one, next to a topless
"gentleman's club" and the last stop for several RTD bus routes.
The sorority house "would have been more convenient for our residents," said
Greg Harms, the shelter director. "But we ended up in a nicer building . . .
It's made for us."
The two-story building sleeps 160, twice as many as the old facility.
It features spacious bedrooms, a big kitchen with shiny new refrigerators
and hot tables and a dining room that seats 45. Through the picture windows,
residents will see a panorama of mountain and plain behind the body shops.
The long, thin dormitories at the old shelter were created by knocking out
walls between the motel rooms. Bunks are crammed so closely together that
residents must turn sideways to get in, and the top bunks are inches from
the ceiling.
Like homeless people everywhere, many of those who stay at the Boulder
shelter have drug or alcohol problems, or they are mentally ill. The new
shelter has twice as much space for counselors, plus rooms for dental and
medical examinations.
A man waiting to spend a night at the old shelter for the last time Friday
said he's seen the new facility from the outside.
"It looks like it will be kind of nice," he said.
He had all of his possessions in a back pack. His teeth and fingers were
stained red from the Fireballs he was sucking.
"I go by Noname," he said.
In addition to not being able to recall his name, he can't remember where
he's from or how long he's been on the street.
"Sometimes I think, all my life. All I know is, it seems like it's all a
dream to me," Noname said.
Noname said he doesn't want counseling. He's sought help in the past, but it
did no good.
"They just let me go like I am, so I don't think I'm going to seek help any
more," he said. "I don't suspect I need it."
"That's mighty nice of them to help folks out," he said of the new shelter.
On the other hand, he was happy with the old shelter, too.
"We make it work out," he said.
Volunteers have been moving equipment to the new location all week.
After breakfast today, about 100 people will make the final hauls in time to
open for dinner.
Win Franklin showed up to help Friday, along with Bertha, his baby blue 1961
Ford F-100 pickup.
"They needed extra hands and they needed another truck," said Franklin, a
longtime financial contributor to the shelter.
"It's about time," Franklin said of the new building. "The people who live
there are sure going to appreciate it."

morsonb@RockyMountainNews.com  or 303-892-5072