Dori: Policies and politics driving Washington state’s homeless population

Dec 16, 2021, 10:32 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2021, 11:22 am
Evidence seized as Seattle police investigated tents along Dearborn Avenue in December 2018. (Seatt...
Evidence seized as Seattle police investigated tents along Dearborn Avenue in December 2018. (Seattle Police Department)
(Seattle Police Department)

At his Wednesday afternoon press conference, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the millions of dollars the state is already spending on homelessness isn’t enough. He wants to spend $800 million more.

Throwing more money to fix homelessness? Hasn’t that made the problem worse and not better? Already, those in Seattle and King County are being taxed to spend $100,000 annually per homeless person.

No, says Inslee. It’s not enough. It’s not enough. It’s simply not enough.

But you should know something about the numbers that is rarely discussed. It’s from the 2020 Homeless Assessment Report to Congress from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — The 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress (

Among the top four most populated states in the United States: California (1); Texas (2); Florida (3), and New York (4).

Similarly, these states rank in the top four for their homeless population.

But where does Washington – 13th in the country for general population – rank for homeless? We’re No. 5.

What? Why would much larger states – Pennsylvania, Illinois, and six others – have fewer homeless people than Washington?

It’s about our local policies, and it’s about our local politics.

Drugs are legal for personal possession here. There’s no fear of any punishment in Washington, so come on in. Mexican cartels can bring drugs into our state because our sanctuary status limits police investigations, so come on in.

When drug vagrants choose to migrate here, it’s because drugs are legal, crimes are not punished, and they can shoplift with impunity.

In fact, do you know how many times Gov. Inslee referenced drugs during his Wednesday press conference about homelessness? Zero.

Instead, policies and politics embraced by most of our local leaders say, “Let’s create a problem. And then, let’s tax people to fix the problem that we created.”

Listen to hear Dori’s entire take on this in The Big Lead:

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Policies and politics driving Washington state’s homeless population