Thursday, September 27, 2007

At Your Service - The Public is a Damned Fickle Master

Last year, after our crazy-making, ad hoc, fly by the seat of our pants run at providing a cold weather shelter for the homeless in Loveland, I asked the Loveland Homeless Task Force numerous times to develop a procedures guide for future operations of such a shelter. I even gave them examples to go through and pick out what they liked and leave what they didn't.

I got....


So then, when I published this plan - with approval from the Assistant City Manager, my phone starts ringing;

"Why in the world are you requiring a breathalyzer for for entry?"
Because we cannot accept people into the shelter who are under the influence - and a breathalyzer 1.) is standard shelter procedure thru the state, and 2.)eliminates any subjective accusations of drunkenness.

"Whaddyou mean you won't admit someone under the influence? They are still human and deserve to be kept safe."
I SO agree with you. However, they will be safe and warm in detox. As a City project, we have liability for the volunteers and the other guests staying at the shelter, and cannot risk the potential for harm. And this risk does increase with substance consumption - evidenced this summer by a man we both know and previously would have called "harmless."

"Wait, I, uh, see here that the temperature threshold has increased - that means we'll be open more days then."
Ok, wait a cotton picking minute...last year, when the shelter was given the parameters of 30 degrees or below, people complained that there was evidence that 40 degrees was a better cutoff, plus Fort Collins uses that guideline so why not us? Now that I have gotten that approved, you don't want the burden of service? One or the other, please.

"It's all getting rather bureaucratic, wouldn't you say? That's going to turn people off."
People don't HAVE to stay. If they prefer not to do paperwork (which will keep us accountable and also possibly argue the need for a full-time homeless shelter - oh, wait, that's big picture I forget you don't see that often) then they can make another arrangement, no? There is a choice.

Et. Cet. Er. A

It is the catch 22 of government work - if you ask the public for input prior to decision making, there is nothing to be found, but afterward? They will pick it apart with their - ($.02) (read: negative two cents), self-righteously and mercilessly, deprecating the bastards who make up the administration.


No matter...

At the end of the day, I know:
1.) It's a damned good plan, chockful of best practices
2.) For all the complaining, the attempt to save lives is being made...and despite all of the protests, it will be effective


  1. You're a rockstar, girlfriend, and doing a good thing. Don't let the red tape get in your way.

  2. I think 40 degrees is a much better cutoff--wind and such can make 40 degrees quite cold.

    BTW, I finally posted a bit about what's been going on with AJ . . .

  3. you don't hear this enough, because no human does(!) but your work is awesome - i'm digging hard on your style and class - please keep your heart in sync with your head - good instincts and brains are a fantastic combination!

    Earth would be a better place if less folks immitated Thoreau and Socrates and more emmulated MLK Jr. and any soldier in America - actions over rhetoric every time!