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Dori: Increase in homeless deaths result of failed policies, not lack of funds

Homeless encampment in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood. (Tom Amato, KTTH)

Once again, the number of homeless deaths in King County is skyrocketing. Last year, 191 homeless people died on the streets of King County.

It’s not about needing to spend more money, which is what some homeless advocates are calling for. It is happening because we spend so much money.

In the last five years, we have had an explosion of the numbers of homeless on our streets because we are attracting homeless people from around the country due to our decriminalization of drugs.

According to the City Journal, the Seattle metro area spends more than $1 billion on homelessness every year. That is $100,000 a year for every man, woman, and child who is homeless in King County.

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Think about that. If you have a family of four, you can probably live in a nice house, go out to restaurants, and take vacations on considerably less than $400,000 a year. For a group of four living on the streets, that’s how much we’re spending. And we have politicians who have the audacity to say that the problem is that we’re not spending enough money.

On Monday, Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda told a group of New Yorkers that Seattle’s homelessness problem is so bad because we “need additional dollars.” We’re spending $1 billion a year on roughly 10,000 homeless people.

And what is happening is undeniable.

KIRO Radio’s Carolyn Ossorio reported on Wednesday that the city’s navigation team had offered services to the residents of a Northgate homeless encampment that was cleared this week. How many people took the offer? Not one.

These are people who sadly are so lost that they would rather live in a tent next to I-5, so that they can steal and shoot up heroin than try to turn their life around.

There’s nothing more that we can do. We can build all the housing we want and spend $10 billion a year, and all it’s going to do is bring more drug addicts from around the country and increase the homeless deaths.

These homeless deaths aren’t a failure of the taxpayers, and aren’t about us being too selfish to spend more money. This is a complete and utter failure of local politics and drug policies. There is nothing else to this story, and anyone who tries to tell you differently has no clue what’s going on out there.

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