State lawmaker touts ‘common sense’ pilot program to fight homeless crisis in Grays Harbor

May 18, 2021, 9:27 AM
Grays Harbor homeless...
The remains of a homeless encampment in Grays Harbor County in 2019. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

Grays Harbor County will soon be hosting a new pilot program proposed by Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh, putting $900,000 toward transitional housing for the region’s homeless population.

Housing homeless in hotels is a ‘faster, cheaper’ solution

The program will use state funds from the 2021-23 capital budget to build an estimated 40 units of transitional housing in Grays Harbor County. The goal, Walsh says, is to take a “common sense approach” to homelessness.

“We want to get people off the streets, and we want to get them out of tents,” he told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show. “I don’t like the sort of homeless industrial complex approach to creating eyesore problems in our cities and our towns — that’s a strategy to to create the impression of a problem that we spend billions trying to solve.”

Rather than pouring millions of dollars into communities — oftentimes with strings attached by state lawmakers — Walsh hopes to implement a more targeted strategy, while allowing local leaders to take the lead.

“Too much of our state’s homeless housing policy and budgeting are one size fits all,” he noted. “I think that’s wrong; I think that local elected [officials] need to be in charge.”

For the Grays Harbor pilot program, the plan is to get the region’s unhoused population out of tents, shelters, and camps, and into locally-run transitional housing. From there, people can then have access to mental health services that will enable them to find a more permanent living situation down the line.

Group hopes to force Seattle to take action on homelessness

Ultimately, the goal is to “get them off the street, triage what their issues are, and get them into programs that set them back on a healthy path,” Walsh described.

The pilot program will be managed by Grays Harbor County commissioners, who praised Walsh’s efforts for opening the door to local control.

“Urban-centric, state-defined programs don’t meet the needs of many rural counties,” Grays Harbor County Commissioner Jill Warne said in a written release. “This pilot project stops that insanity by offering local governments the ability to define the best methods to sheltering and helping the homeless living in their communities.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Everett homeless camping, no sit no lie, Snohomish County...
KTTH staff

Councilmember: Snohomish County sales tax increase getting ‘rushed with minimal transparency’

Snohomish County Council could soon pass a 0.1% sales tax increase, as part of a process Councilmember Nate Nehring says is littered with issues.
1 day ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: WSU amplifies claim that farmers markets, food charity are ‘white supremacy’ in action

Washington State University is amplifying claims that farmers markets and food charities are examples of "white supremacy" and "white dominant culture."
2 days ago
Kshama Sawant recall debate...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: There’s only one Kshama Sawant recall result that truly matters

Socialist Seattle City Council firebrand Kshama Sawant faces voters on Dec. 7 for her recall election. There's only one result that tells us something.
3 days ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle-area teacher recorded during vulgar, anti-police Kyle Rittenhouse rant

A teacher in the Northshore School District was recorded during a vulgar and one-sided rant about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
4 days ago
Kent Mayor...
KTTH staff

Kent mayor connects string of recent shootings to King County’s ‘lax prosecution of drug crimes’

Kent Mayor Dana Ralph discusses how a recent state supreme court ruling has impeded King County's ability to prosecute drug crimes.
4 days ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle School Board hides findings that its members harassed Black staff

Two Seattle Public School board directors who claim to be anti-racist progressives were found guilty of harassing, intimidating, and bullying Black staff.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
State lawmaker touts ‘common sense’ pilot program to fight homeless crisis in Grays Harbor