Seattle's homeless problem - some numbers

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From the always excellent City Journal:

Seattle Under Siege
Seattle is under siege. Over the past five years, the Emerald City has seen an explosion of homelessness, crime, and addiction. In its 2017 point-in-time count of the homeless, King County social-services agency All Home found 11,643 people sleeping in tents, cars, and emergency shelters. Property crime has risen to a rate two and a half times higher than Los Angeles’s and four times higher than New York City’s. Cleanup crews pick up tens of thousands of dirty needles from city streets and parks every year.

At the same time, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Seattle metro area spends more than $1 billion fighting homelessness every year. That’s nearly $100,000 for every homeless man, woman, and child in King County, yet the crisis seems only to have deepened, with more addiction, more crime, and more tent encampments in residential neighborhoods. By any measure, the city’s efforts are not working.

Over the past year, I’ve spent time at city council meetings, political rallies, homeless encampments, and rehabilitation facilities, trying to understand how the government can spend so much money with so little effect. While most of the debate has focused on tactical policy questions (Build more shelters? Open supervised injection sites?), the real battle isn’t being waged in the tents, under the bridges, or in the corridors of City Hall but in the realm of ideas, where, for now, four ideological power centers frame Seattle’s homelessness debate. I’ll identify them as the socialists, the compassion brigades, the homeless-industrial complex, and the addiction evangelists. Together, they have dominated the local policy discussion, diverted hundreds of millions of dollars toward favored projects, and converted many well-intentioned voters to the politics of unlimited compassion. If we want to break through the failed status quo on homelessness in places like Seattle—and in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, too—we must first map the ideological battlefield, identify the flaws in our current policies, and rethink our assumptions.

A long read but an excellent one. He cites the homeless-industrial complex - that is where most of your taxpayer money is going:

With more than $1 billion spent on homelessness in Seattle every year, one should keep in mind Vladimir Lenin’s famous question: Who stands to gain? In the world of Seattle homelessness, the big “winners” are social-services providers like the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE), the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), and the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), which constitute what I call the city’s homeless-industrial complex. For the executive leadership of these organizations, homelessness is a lucrative business. In the most recent federal filings, the executive director of LIHI, Sharon Lee, earned $187,209 in annual compensation, putting her in the top 3 percent of income earners nationwide. In my estimation, the executive director of DESC, Daniel Malone, has received at least $2 million in total compensation during his extended career in the misery business.

Like I said, an excellent read.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on December 27, 2018 3:06 PM.

Well that was easy - permitting was the previous entry in this blog.

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