NEED TO RANT! NEED!
/steps on extremely large soapbox.
So, as some of you know, I moved from Boulder to Denver about 2 months ago. It's been very necessary for me and, as I've come to find out, I relate a lot better to big(ger) city life than I do to a little hippie town like Boulder. Which was sincerely strange for me to find out because I've lived in Colorado for 14 years now and, in those 14 years, I have always considered myself a Boulderite, bar none. I have spent 3 years on Daily Kos defending that motherfucking city from people who assured me that it was too "holier than thou" for its own good, sometimes to no avail.
A lot of things have changed my mind over the years, but what did it in the end was offensive shit like this:
Hundreds of vocal opponents prompted officials to cut short a meeting Thursday night on a north Boulder housing project for the chronically homeless.
Neighbors crowded into the National Guard Armory to speak out about a proposed affordable housing development at 1175 Lee Hill Drive, just south of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Boulder Housing Partners scheduled the meeting to discuss the project with nearby residents.
Many north Boulder residents said the city's homeless problem is being put entirely on their shoulders.
"My main concern is the concentration of the homeless," said Renee Beshures, who lives in the Dakota Ridge neighborhood. "We already have had some concerns seeing people on the trails and making people uncomfortable, and now we might have the chronic homeless. That's something we don't want to have in our community."
Oh yeah?! Well, FUCK YOU, Renee Beshures! And the Lexus you drove in on!
If there is one thing I cannot stomach from supposed "liberals", it's this NIMBY "NOT IN MY BACKYARD!" mentality. I see tons of bumper stickers in the Boulder area to help out folks in Darfur, Tibet, New Orleans, Japan ... essentially, anywhere but Colorado. I have often opined (and have surely openly stated) that it's much easier for people to give money to charities they have no personal connection with because, if you can experience your five senses with the very folks you're giving money to, you begin to judge them.
It's human to do that, but it is most certainly not cool.
Take Ms. Beshures' attitude towards homelessness and homeless people. Since homeless people make her "uncomfortable", I wonder how comfortable she'd be with these statistics?
In Boulder County, approximately 1050 individuals and family members were counted as homeless in 2009. This represents approximately 10% of the homeless population in the metro area. Of these, 627 were individuals and 423 were part of a family. Approximately 48% were white and 39% were of Hispanic origin. For those reporting family status, approximately 108 children were identified in the age category of 0-5.
These may not sound like terribly large numbers, but this information was gathered in 2009, and those numbers have surely grown by now. More than that, of course, is the fact that homelessness is not something that is likely to go away anytime soon.
Homelessness is a complex social problem that has many causes. Increasing gentrification of American neighborhoods, decreasing availability of low-income housing, deterioration of the social and economic safety nets that keep people from falling into homelessness, and routine political disenfranchisement of the social groups from which the homeless are generally drawn all contribute to the problem. Effective efforts to cope with homelessness often combine subsidized housing with a variety of case management services. While lots of attention has been paid to the kind and quality of services made available to the homeless (e.g., assistance in finding jobs, provision of child care, etc.) much less attention has been paid to the kind and quality of the buildings that house the homeless.
Since American society is seemingly decaying more by the day, I think it's really fucking wonderful that we have people like Renee Beshures to remind us that the United States is divided into the haves and the have-nots. The haves don't want to be reminded of what they could become if someone like Renee loses her job, so screw the tax credits and federal grants that have been awarded to Denver and Boulder to help the homeless! SCREW THE FUCK OUT OF THEM, GODDAMNIT! NIMBY!
/gets off soapbox. Shakes fist.
'Course, if you want to say screw you! to Renee Beshures, please feel free to donate time or money to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless or Boulder Housing Partners, two extremely worthwhile organizations.