Why Critics Of The Temporary Safe Outdoor Space Should Focus On Money, Process And Policy Instead Of People

by William Skink

Critics of the Temporary Safe Outdoor Space (TSOS) are not going to get anywhere with the illuminated braintrust if they make their concerns about people. Why? Because homeless people are more than homeless people to the braintrust; they also function as guilt shields and shame bludgeons for people like Susan Hay Patrick to hide behind and strike out at their critics with.

To see this strategy in action, yesterday County Commissioner, Dave Strohmaier, showed critics how poor human pawns can be used to insulate local politicians from criticism when he lashed out at people exhibiting the gall to question the braintrust and their Covid emergency rubber stamp for the TSOS. From the link:

“We’ve heard a few times today the comments, ‘I’m not against the homeless, but…’ and I will be blunt with folks, I find some level of disingenuousness with that,” said Commissioner David Strohmaier. “That is followed by some comments that ‘I’m not against the homeless, but this type of people…'”

People made comments that the people seeking refuge at the Temporary Safe Outdoor Space weren’t “quality homeless,” as Strohmaier put it.

“And I find that somewhat offensive,” Strohmaier said.

See? If you make it about people, this is the kind of reaction you’re gonna get from the braintrust.

Instead of people, I suggest focusing on money, process and policy because that is where these disingenuous influencers can be exposed as the self-serving fraudsters that they are.

I’m doing my part by exposing the involvement of Blue Line Development in the TSOS. I find it very significant that the president and CEO of this affordable housing developer owns the land on which this temporary encampment is being built, just like I thought it was significant that the daughter of the director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency is the project manager for Blue Line Development’s Trinity Apartment Complex.

By focusing criticism on money and process, virtue-signaling politicians like Dave Strohmaier can’t use their homeless-people-shame-bludgeons on you.

If the types of people who might be staying at a temporary location like the TSOS is of genuine concern to you, then I suggest using policy as way to indirectly address those concerns. Let me explain.

Missoula’s Coordinated Entry System–one of the first accomplishments of the 10 year plan to end homelessness (launched in 2012)–is supposed to input homeless client information into the HMIS system, but if points of entry, like the Poverello Center, are chronically understaffed, then the question becomes HOW LONG IS IT TAKING to assess client needs?

The majority of humans across the socio-economic spectrum are not bad, violent people. But some are, and Missoula residents shouldn’t be shamed for worrying about that fact.

Do I need to remind readers that a sweet, old man by the name of Lee Nelson had his skull bashed in last month because he and the monster who senselessly murdered him were both staying at the Poverello Center?

The policy questions for that horrific incident should include things like when did Charles Michael Covey arrive in Missoula? How long was he at the shelter? Did he have to produce an ID to get shelter? Did he give a false name? Did he get his coordinated entry assessment done? Were there any behavior incidents before this sociopath wheeled Lee to the river, pushed him out of his chair, then beat the life out of him over…cigarettes?

So yes, I understand the concern about “who our new neighbors are”, but I also understand how the illuminated braintrust operates, and they will hide behind their homeless-people-guilt-shields all day long if critics wade into this area of criticism without the constructive focus on policy.

If anyone wants to speak with me about these issues, please contact me at willskink at yahoo dot com. I am happy to talk to anyone, especially if you’re open to recording an interview.

I’m also considering going back on KGVO to talk about this issue because the braintrust can’t smear me the same way they are trying to smear their other community critics right now.

So stay tuned…

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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