Boulder’s “Ready to Work”, what to you expect to happen by being in this program?

From a “Bridge House” Ready to work resident answering the question, what to you expect by being in this program?

Written answer summary:

I don’t really open up to people, I am often a reserved person and not a very good socializer. If there wasn’t enough to drink at a party or event to numb me from having to talk to people, I was that guy who would carefully sneak away and hope a liquor store was open. So bear with me for a moment…

There was a paper distributed this week at the “House Meeting” that asked what this program (Ready to Work) can do to help them (residents), a question along those lines. I put “don’t know” and I truly think I don’t know, because stability has not been normal for me, perhaps so long ago that I can’t even remember. very long time. My time overseas constitutes the majority of my adult life in career oriented work that had given a SOFA status visa, which is about the best visa anyone can ger. Working in job positions that are not easy to get and even harder to hold. In contrast, falling into a hopeless existence that involves being homeless with very little or none in the way of resources — there are resources I am sure there are resources and maybe I just don’t identify them as resources. I have the common hope that anyone else has, I suppose: to be happy, or have engaging meaningful work? I have come to accept that the white picket fence will never happen, I suppose weeding white picket fences will have to do.

There is something that I have observed more than once here with the team/program that causes me to pause, not the “Ready to Work Program” philosophy, model or mantra that is in place, but that I constantly hear people — in the local community throughout Boulder, Colorado– who knew or know people here associated with the program, as residents or in some other way. Often reminicing about were they were in life when they first met you. Not missing any details  about you and where you are now. 

I met yet another person Wednesday at the North Boulder Foothills residential area that Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) takes care of. A ressident there noticed the green and brown uniform that is issued to all residents upon acceptance into the program. Before she said anything else she inquired about you, about the program status. She claimed to have known you at the original Bridge House location, not the current Table Mesa location. She detailed your status there at the original Bridge House saying only that you were a door greeter and noted how far you have come from when she met  that in your life today you manage others daily in a very difficult managerial position, a job position that involves working with the Bridge House residents, many of whom had just been released from prison, jail, and other programs similar. Often times parole officers offered only one option other than strict paole adherence, get accepted into the Boulder Bridge House work program or be subject to the rules of parole. And while he didn’t elaborate, it seemed to be like so many in the Boulder community that genuinely seem proud of the program, people, opportunities, outcomes — etc. Bragging or just being proud to be associated with the Bridge House program had sense of celebrity. These aren’t isolated occurrences, they happen all the time.

I can say, with much honesty though sadly, that in Denver, I saw programs that took advantage of the homeless or those just in need. And that is not something I would just make up. My mind had almost been set in thinking that all programs not similar in nature to the Bridge House or the Ready to Work program models, were identical in operation and outcomes throughout Denver. Charitible, shelter, or rehabilitation program types were all this way. On March 8, 2016 the homeless who were laying on sidewalks in the freezing cold with no place to go were between the Denver Rescue Mission and Samaritin House and the police went there in force to remove (evict) the homeless. Do you know what happened? The homeless just moved a few blocks down. The next day in the newspapers on the 9thh, the loca government pledged to award money to these sort of shelters. Quite plainly, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to ponder, that for decages these programs failed. Their programs in real results failed. Probably due to the fact that these programs have zero percent motivation to change. For the programs to change would mean less money with little scrutiny. After all, the homeless are their tickets to lots free money in the name a good cause. 

My departure from “name edited” in coming here was in-part based on the recommendation the VA gave. I started to become jaded with the qua;ity and effectiveness of any program in Denver. The Salvation Army program did not make much sense if the outcome was to be long-term. People are right there by the Denver Rescue Mission ready to sell you anything you want. The Samaritan House,well, I will show you what people think, Damariton House reviews.     

Denver Cares or what was known as Cherokee House on 16th street, were so ineffective that the 14-man TRT program for veterans was lost. Organizations that allow veterans generally get free money, that money is Grant Per Diem that every veteran tsafforded only 3 times in their ;life. So, many places will allocate “beds” or space for veterans. Programs that are unable to show any evidence of value.Arguably, that is the very reas the Cherokee House program was pulled amd no longer exists with Denver Health. 

The executive director of a “peer recovery program” learned about my about my marketing background and had asked for opinions regarding the path that they wanted to go with their marketing. In my research I ran into information that the CCU (Colorado Christian University) had published about the Denver Rescue Mission and this “this unnamed program in Colorado.” The executive director asked that the information not be referenced, that those were people who had made trouble”. Over time the way he spoke of “their program” and going so far as to infer that it was a business, and the name of the business was subject to copyright potection and that the mere mention of their name was owned by them. 

Increasingly, the executive director said that he wanted only to focus on the car donation program, the business, and had met me for one final meeting where he expressed that he is the executive director and will now put on his executive director hat, after which he ran through a list of where he had worked, that he was the decider, the all knowing.

What became troubling to me was the way he way he spoke about the residents. It became like he was counting chickens on a farm that were waiting to be slaughtered. My choice to leave started to rapidly approach when they lied about a resident who had died while in the program. That person entered the program at the same time I did in November 2015. The announcement of this residents death at this “unnamed program”was that the resident left during the holidays, relapsed and died. Thats all nice, except it didn’t happen. I have voice mails well into 2016 and information which showed the exact week of this residents. What information? His obituary had been published online. To me, there was no justification for lying about this person dying, because probably few-to-none of the residents knew this individual. The only reasoning  for announcing the death would be to exploit this death, refabricated to use for their own benefit. Why else announce the death of a resident incorrectly? There are ways to mourn the passing away of a resident, while looking for lesson learned, without lying. It made me sick to my stomach watching his lips flapped around with delusions of his grandeur. So, after working several weeks of research that detailed nearly every on-site and off-site improvements with data that included the programs that compete for donor dollars, he had what he needed and had been feeding my findings and suggestions to a marketing group, with no intentions other than to feed his ego and make money for his “business”.

I tend to ramble when writing, so before I write any more, what I wanted to say is that — what that paper asked about in the “House Meeting” and how this place can help. I don’t know how to put it into words entirely, but I think what I really hope is to find some sort of homeostasis that I see others might have found or have been led to by being here. I know my adversities, real or imagined, are not unique and ultimately this place owes me nothing. For me looking back makes me feel a sort of confusing regret at how powerless I look, with the crumbling of pride and self worth knowing that I carry a very visible “scarlet letter” that paints exactly how it was intended to: with shame. There is a passage which appears in the novel’s final chapter which concludes the book’s examination of the theme of individual identity in the face of social judgments. After many years’ absence, Hester has just returned to her former home. She resumes wearing the scarlet letter because her past is an important part of her identity; it is not something that should be erased or denied because someone else has decided it is shameful. What Hester undergoes is more akin to reconciliation than penitence. She creates a life in which the scarlet letter is a symbol of adversity overcome and of knowledge gained rather than a sign of failure or condemnation. She assumes control of her own identity, and in so doing she becomes an example for others. She is not, however, the example of sin that she was once intended to be. Rather, she is an example of redemption and self-empowerment.

When I see yourself and other staff members here who have risen above circumstances, and all who were in some way involved with the Bridge House “Ready to Work” program in Boulder. I think that might be the closest and honest way that I am  able to express what I hope for. 






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