Dori: Inslee’s homelessness plan will expand bureaucracy, not help people
Jay Inslee has announced that he wants to spend $300 million over three years to help the homeless here in Washington. He wants to take the money for his homelessness plan from the state’s emergency reserves.
The homelessness plan would provide 2,100 shelter beds and help thousands of people get into housing. He says that he is frustrated in Washington because we have a very successful economy, yet have such a large homelessness problem.
A listener named Mike sent me a very interesting email.
The governor wants to spend $300 million on homeless shelters from the rainy day fund. I have priced 8-foot by 12-foot sheds like the ones they have been using at other sites. They cost about $2,200 installed for a basi one with a window and a door. Add an extra $1,000 per unit for utility hookup, a bed, dresser, heater and a light, $3,200. You can purchase 93,750 of them. It’s estimated Washington state has 23,400 people homeless on a given day. $74,880,000 would purchase a shed for everyone who is homeless. Where is the rest going? Porta potties? Maybe each homeless camp could show a little effort and fund their toilets. Just a thought.
The rest of the $300 million, Mike, goes to the homeless-industrial complex. The reason we have such a shameful homelessness problem is because of the homeless-industrial complex. We have people like the six-figure-earning woman who approved the transgender stripper at the homelessness conference running homeless services around here.
Let me ask you a very serious question. We have plenty of state land that is not being used. What if government leaders decided to spend $75 million and provide a tiny house for every homeless person on the state on government land? Instead, the money goes to bureaucracy and inefficiency.
Do you think that the people in the homeless-industrial complex — like Sharon Lee, who makes $190,000 per year at the Low-Income Housing Institute — really want their jobs to go away? They’re making six figures a year “managing homelessness.” If there are no more homeless people, there is no need for their jobs to exist.
Do you think the politicians want the problem to go away? After all, it’s the most useful lever imaginable for raising taxes. They can say, “Hey, you don’t like having tarps on the sidewalks. You don’t like having syringes at your kids’ schools. If you vote for this tax increase, we’ll fix the problem.”
Some people are not fixable. Some people want to live a life on the streets without drug or mental health treatment. Sadly, there is a tremendous number of people for whom living on the streets is their lifestyle of choice. Remember that encampment about a year ago, where everyone was offered shelter and services? Something like one person out of a dozen tents’ worth of people took the offer. We have done them a grave disservice by aiding and abetting that. We need to give them everything we can to help them, but we should not tolerate public camping.
It does not cost a billion dollars a year to take care of the homeless. It does not even cost the $300 million that Inslee wants to spend in his homelessness plan. You know that a huge chunk of that money will just go to the six-figure jobs and ever-expanding bureaucracy of the homeless-industrial complex.
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.