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Michael Medved

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Rantz: Seattle paid $54 million to make homelessness worse

As the Seattle City Council aims to bleed tens of more million dollars for homelessness – this time from businesses via a misguided ‘head tax’ – they compiled a report indicating they spent nearly $53 million dollars and homelessness has gotten worse. And even more alarming, the money is being inefficiently spent.

“We have over five thousand people who’ve been able to exit permanently out of homelessness,” said City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, citing the report (without actually releasing it).

This claim implies the City is responsible for this result. That does not appear to be the case.

Of the $54 million, according to KOMO 4 (which got a hold of the report), nearly $20 million was spent on emergency and shelter services and only six percent who use those services ended up finding permanent housing. Indeed, some homeless are getting into permanent housing, but that’s coming primarily from help from charities, friends or on their own. Some are using taxpayer funded housing.

The cries from some on the council this year is that we have a crisis in desperate need of more funding. They have no actual plan for the head tax money they’d collect; they’ll just build affordable housing, which, in addition to lacking details, doesn’t actually address the reasons these folks find themselves currently homeless.

But if you’re spending $20 million on shelter services, while incorrectly claiming shelter beds are full, and only 6% of those helped used these services, there’s something wrong. You shouldn’t be rewarded with millions more of our dollars to waste; you should be shamed for your incompetence and the people in charge should be fired or booted out of office.

This inefficient, embarrassing use of taxpayer dollars is part of the reason why businesses, like Dick’s Drive In, would prefer to give money to actual charities, instead of the City of Seattle. But we shouldn’t be shocked at this. As KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson points out, a recent homelessness “fix” failed miserably.

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