City wants to provide RV park services for homeless – on your dime
July 13, 2022
Over the past few weeks we’ve taken aim at arguments made by sources quoted in a Seattle Times article claiming that removing drug camps is contributing to homeless deaths and drug abuse combined with permissive public policy are a significant cause of those deaths.
With King County already on track to hit a record number of homeless deaths – if they haven’t met it already thanks to a dysfunctional tracking system – there will no doubt be calls for increased spending on homeless to combat the problem. Or, they’ll want new taxes to cover the city’s anticipated $117 million shortfall in 2023.
The real problem is we’ve already spent a lot of money for years, and gotten nowhere.
Despite the lack of success, the city continues to spend more. In fact, they plan to spend double what they were spending on homelessness four years ago.
And you won’t believe on what.
The city’s latest 2022 supplemental budget, which spends a total of $155.3 million on homelessness. In 2018, they were spending $77 million annually. Of that $155 million, $109.3 million goes to the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), an agency that openly states on its website the utopian belief that it’s possible to end homelessness.
The city’s homeless spending also includes almost $2 million to create a “Seattle RV Safe Lot.” Bottom line: a nonprofit is being given a bunch of money to clean up to 10 homeless RV sites in five “zones” and “manage storage of personal belongings” of those who live there. Essentially the city is using millions of taxpayer dollars to provide RV park-style amenities and hospitality services to people voluntarily choosing to live in squalor as they indulge in alcohol and drug abuse.
Recently we wrote about how Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office complained that homeless people forced out of drug encampments rejected city-provided shelters and opted to go to another encampment. Why should we be surprised, especially if they can go to an RV “Safe Lot” and have all their cleaning and maintenance done by city-funded nonprofits?
Make Your Voice Heard!
Contact the Seattle City Council and tell them the solution to homelessness is NOT giving them RV park-style amenities!
The insult to injury with the new “RV Safe Lot” is that the concept has had a sordid history in Seattle. The last one was created by the city in 2018 and was a total disaster. A similar program started in Ballard in 2016 cost taxpayers $35,000 a month, and only 11 homeless in “safe lot” were put in actual housing.
While $2 million may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things, it’s unsettling to see the city spending money on programs like this. When the Seattle Times interviewed a homeless drug addict, he proposed the city provide naloxone in public places so that homeless suffering a fentanyl overdose can use it to counteract the effects. It’s absurd that taxpayers should be forced to enable destructive drug habits, but how much more absurd than offering campground amenity-level services?
After years and millions of dollars spent, what has been the return on investment for taxpayers?
It’s worse than “nothing.” The situation has only gotten worse.
As Jonathan Choe of the Discovery Institute reports, in the Licton Springs neighborhood homeless have been stealing water from houses and engaging in drug dealing as the local encampment has expanded due to others moving from places where the city has cleaned up the public spaces. Their behavior clearly indicates they’re used to having their activities tolerated.
Don’t let anyone tell you that the problem with homelessness is not enough spending or that the city lacks revenue. The reality is that the spending has not only contributed to the anticipated budget shortfall, it has exacerbated the homelessness crisis by enticing homeless from elsewhere to movie to Seattle with services and programs that don’t require them to give up any of the addictions that caused them to become homeless.
It’s more accurate to say we’re not spending money on homelessness, but on enabling the mentally ill and addicts to remain homeless for as long as they choose. There is nothing compelling them to get off the street, sober up, reenter normal society other than their own volition.
The real problem is one of accountability. The city has not been held accountable for how it has spent taxpayer dollars. The agencies and nonprofits that have received taxpayer dollars have not been held accountable. And the homeless people receiving freebies while using illegal substances and violating numerous city ordinances have not been held accountable.
The city does not need another dime from us. What they need is be better stewards of the money they already receive.
Contact the Seattle City Council and tell them the solution to homelessness is NOT giving homeless RV park-style services.