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Pearl Jam’s effort is admirable, but money isn’t an answer to homelessness

Seattle-based rockers Pearl Jam. (AP)

I’m not a big Pearl Jam fan, but I’ve heard that their concert on Wednesday night at Safeco Field was a fantastic show. And I think that what they’re doing — trying to raise $10 million to fight homelessness in Seattle — is truly laudable. But my question is, what are they going to do with all of this money?

As I’ve said a million times, there is no correlation between spending money and reducing homelessness. We spend more per capita on homelessness than any other city in the country, and the problem has only gotten dramatically worse — because of our politicians.

Where is the money going to go? We have already spent over a billion dollars on homelessness in Seattle and King County over the past 10 years. In that time, we have become one of the worst cities in the United States when it comes to homelessness. We could spend a billion a year and we would not end homelessness around here, as long as we have the same politicians in charge.

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I want us to provide drug treatment, mental health counseling, and job training to the people who want it. But the fact of the matter is — and nobody seems willing to acknowledge this truth — that the majority of the people on the streets have sadly decided that that is their lifestyle of choice. When they swept that homeless camp a few months ago, nearly all of them denied the offers of assistance from law enforcement.

As long as we enable and tolerate that as a city, as a region, then all of the addicts around the country are going to say, “Let’s go to Seattle — they’ll let us live in tents and shoot up.” You can spend an infinite amount of money, and it is not going to solve that truth.

I’m not saying one negative word about Pearl Jam and their efforts. Bless their hearts. But when they say that they want to eradicate this problem — unfortunately, that is an absolute impossibility with the politicians around here. The politicians are enablers. Taxpayer-funded wet housing allows addicts to shoot up and drink themselves to death.

Homelessness is an industry. And until we have politicians who will have zero tolerance of open drug use, people living on the street, and property crime, nothing will change. God bless the people giving their art and money to this cause. But until things change politically, they are throwing their money away.

Pearl Jam may help some individuals. But as far as eradicating homelessness? As long as we have nine whack-jobs on the Seattle City Council and an absolutely ineffective mayor who cannot make a decision to save her life, it is an impossibility.

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