Mr. Entertainment is a South Florida musician and has been a herald of the local scene since the 19-somethings. He serves as the unofficial Musical Mayor of Hollywood.
Updated February 9 at 12:30 p.m.: Since this post went live on the morning of February 8, 2016, donations to Boise Bob's GoFundMe page have exceeded the original $500 goal by more than $1500. At the request of Hal, Ritchie has contributed this update to the page, which includes news that with the community's support, he's been able to secure a new home:
Support has been overwhelming. Hal is truly grateful and overwhelmed by everyone's generosity.
Mr. Entertainment's article has really gotten the word out.
We have found Hal a place to live in downtown Hollywood and he will move in at some point this week.
Once he gets in, he will then work on lining up a job. If anyone can help with a job prospect please let us know.
Because of your generosity, at the time of this writing we have over $1800 in donations. I originally had a goal of $500 to get Hall off of the street for a week or so.
Because of your generosity, we have enough to really make a difference and get Hal back on his feet. Hal is eager to move indoors and then look for a job.
Any donation amount helps. I promise all monies will be used wisely. I am very mindful that I have a significant amount of other people's money and am accountable for it.
Hal wanted me to message everyone here and say thanks. He is overwhelmed by your generosity.
Homelessness sucks — no matter how you got there. Your days turn into hunting and gathering, and you wonder where you'll sleep each night. Your focus each day is on surviving instead of seeking out a way off the streets. I have never experienced this, but many do, and our pal Hal Spector, a.k.a. Boise Bob, is currently homeless.
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We all know Boise Bob as the fun-loving honky tonk singer with his Backyard Band — formerly comprised of fellow beloved local musicians the late Dan Hosker and Lori O'Quinn. From 2009 to 2012, they played just about anywhere and everywhere, hootin' and hollerin', serving up possum meat to anyone who would listen. During that time, Hal lost the trailer where he lived, and then suffered a series of strokes in 2011. He was lucky to not have incurred too much physical damage from the strokes, and the music community came together for him then to help get him back on his feet. Since then, he has bounced around, living on his own and with the help of friends and his brother — mostly holding down jobs as a driver in the service industry with rent-a-car companies or as a town car driver. In 2014, he became homeless for a short period of time and was accepted into a Broward homeless program which assisted in his recovery.
But the wheels came off again in 2015. Hal lost his driving jobs and couldn't find work, ending up homeless again late last year. This time around, he was not as successful getting admitted into a homeless program. Each day, Hal, like many, had to find his way into a shelter or seek some other form of survival. He eventually ended up suffering yet another stroke, only to return back to the streets.
Hal is somewhat a victim of his own circumstances. It is amazing, though, that even with good quality services provided through the government and various charitable efforts, that folks like Hal simply fall through the cracks. He's only recently applied for disability, and even if he qualifies, it will take time to get it. The homeless programs have helped Hal get some health services, but since he has been living on the streets, he's not in great shape. An old friend, Bill Ritchie, recently went to visit Hal and felt compelled to do something to address his dire living conditions. Ritchie set up a GoFundMe page for Hal, in the hopes that the music community will rally for him one more time.
So what are the answers for Hal? He needs to get cleaned up and needs help getting a job. He needs a good advocate to guide him in utilizing appropriate social services. He should qualify for disability and is not too many years away from receiving Social Security benefits. He needs to take enough pride in himself pursue all of this, which is not exactly easy when you're living on the street. He is in a position now in which his friends and family can only help him temporarily; It's up to him to follow through on his end of the deal. As a society, we could also do better reaching out a hand to lift up the down and out.
Many have contributed to Hal's cause, but for those who have not and would like to, you can help out via the GoFundMe site Bill Ritchie has set up. From experience, I trust he will manage those funds well.