Sam Weaver
Sam Weaver

Offering year-round shelter to Boulder's homeless residents should be part of the city's broader discussion on homelessness, Boulder Councilman Sam Weaver said Tuesday night.

As they have for several months now, advocates for the homeless addressed the Boulder City Council during the elected leaders' open comment period, calling for year-round shelter and for the city to back off of increased enforcement on the municipal campus and in Central Park.

Some of the comments were made more poignant by the death early Saturday of Daniel Kitlitz, 27, in an alley behind the Pearl Street Mall. He was the fifth person to die outside in Boulder since early April.

Michael Fitzgerald, who was homeless in Boulder for many years, said he knew Kitlitz and helped care for him as a supervisor at Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow. He said Kitlitz was trying to get care for his mental health and addiction problems, and if he had had a place to sleep, someone could have intervened before he died.

"I'm not faulting anyone," Fitzgerald said. "I'm not blaming anyone. I do know it's time we have shelter 365 days a year. It's not safe out there yesterday or tonight or tomorrow. That is becoming apparent.

"If he had a chance, maybe he could have been at the shelter, at BOHO, someplace he would have been supervised. At least someone could observe that something was wrong, and he might be alive."

Fitzgerald remained composed during his comments, but cried quietly as he left the podium.

Weaver asked that the council's study session on Aug. 26, which will be an update on the city's 10-year plan to end homelessness, include a discussion of how to provide year-round shelter in Boulder.

The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless opens its emergency shelter from October to April, and BOHO operates in a rotating group of churches and synagogues when weather conditions warrant.

Councilman Andrew Shoemaker said he also wants to hear about year-round shelter, but people who are concerned about the homeless should do their part as well.

Responding to another speaker who said that yellow-shirted members of a newly formed Boulder Cop Watch would be observing police interactions with the homeless, Shoemaker noted that the police didn't kill any of the five people who died outside.

Volunteers could also look for people in distress and encourage other homeless people to follow a self-imposed "code of conduct," he said.

Shoemaker said the experience of trying to take children to Central Park or the Boulder Public Library and overhearing crude conversations has turned many people against the homeless.

"Maybe that force of people could be used to help look after your peers," he said. "Maybe they could say to one of your peers not to talk that way around families. That would go a long way toward healing some wounds in the community."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355, or