Washington state senator says homeless approach has ‘completely failed’

Apr 20, 2016, 12:34 PM | Updated: 2:24 pm


(Seattle Police Department, file photo)

(Seattle Police Department, file photo)

Plenty of ideas have been floated around the state to counter the region’s homeless crisis, but State Sen. Mark Miloscia (R-Auburn, Federal Way) told “Ron and Don” that the plans have “completely failed” and that they must try a new approach.

“One that actually focused on solving problems and getting results,” he said. “There needs to be accountability, there needs to be planning and there needs to be monitoring of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s not happening.”

Related: Rantz: Seattle commission wants to give homeless space to get drunk

Miloscia said he wrote the bill in the early 2000s that mandated a 10-year homeless plan, but that leadership around the state didn’t follow any of the suggested language. He said the bill looked at collecting evidence-based data putting together successful approaches across the cities and counties.

“But it turned quickly into a public relations document where nobody was actually being held accountable at all,” he said. “It was more, ‘let’s just give money out to the hundred people out there who want the money.’ It became about giving money out rather than actually solving problems.”

Miloscia said the goal of the plan was to reduce homelessness by 50 percent in 10 years, which has actually happened in 10 counties around the state, including Clallam and Clark counties.

“Does anybody here in King County know exactly what’s going on in those two counties? The phones must be out,” he said. “I haven’t seen one bit of evidence that they’ve talked to anybody in those two counties.”

Don asked whether people just move from those other areas to the more lenient King County.

“Preliminary evidence from the state level — and the data may be inaccurate — is no, that tends not to be happening,” he said. “But … we need to collect better data to really find out. And we can do that. We’d just have to spend a few grand.”

Miloscia, who generally believes homeless individuals who are disobeying the law should be turned to the criminal justice system or led out of town, said he wrote a bill last session that would create a state agency homelessness czar who would report directly to the governor.

He said he would be willing to support additional funding for Seattle if the city could come up with a proposal leaders could actually get behind. Nonetheless, he said Olympia politicians have increased spending for mental health by 47 percent and substance abuse by 77 percent over the last four years.

“Where is all the money? Where is it going?” he asked. “There is plenty of money out here to help people who truly want to be helped. … I’d like to know (from) the (Seattle) mayor why he can’t get services for people who really need it.”

Ron and Don


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Washington state senator says homeless approach has ‘completely failed’