Mayor Harrell continues to throw money at Seattle’s homelessness problem

Apr 4, 2023, 1:35 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2023, 1:22 pm

King County Regional Homelessness Authority KCRHA 5-year plan...

In an aerial view, a homeless encampment, known informally as "Dope Slope" stands covered in garbage near downtown Seattle on March 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The City of Seattle continues to throw money at housing projects while people are dying on the streets. Complaints about encampments and inevitable sweeps have been all too commonplace.

The homelessness issue has crescendoed into a new concerning trend: Bodies being discovered in public places. One was found last week near Lake City Way and State Route 522. Another was discovered in a tent near T-Mobile Park. The system failed these people as their bodies are being discovered in the most brutal way imaginable.

It’s tremendously sad. You have to wonder how a system could be so broken that it could fail these people so badly.

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“These overdose deaths inside the tiny house villages, inside the hotels … you kind of have to dig and scrape for those articles out there,” We Heart Seattle founder Andrea Suarez said.

City officials and local news outlets simply want to brush past these horrific tragedies. The local government seems dead set on the narrative that this is nothing more than a housing crisis.

That has never been more evident than with the announcement of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harell’s $970 million housing levy.

“This plan invests to meet the scale of the housing crisis, doing more than ever to prevent homelessness,” Harrell said.

The mayor referred to the levy as a “proven solution” during his announcement at Housing Development Consortium’s 35th Annual Celebration at the Seattle Convention Center.

This will raise taxes on homeowners in Seattle, which is a rather curious way to make housing more affordable. Also, this ignores the significant problems that persist in the homeless community, those with a chemical dependency will not miraculously get clean just by coming inside.

Harrell plans to bring 3,000 new homes (either rental or for sale) for low-income residents or people recovering from homelessness.

Getting people off the streets is one of many necessary steps. Connecting those who are struggling with addiction with resources is vital.

“I have somebody that works with one of the transitional housing projects, and they had 12 overdoses last year, and the year before was two,” Suarez told the Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH. “So overdoses are going up. If housing first and harm reduction were working policies, we wouldn’t have these numbers that were in the headlines today, the problem is getting worse.”

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Those numbers show an increase in the homeless population. The King County Regional Homeless Authority 2022 point-in-time count listed 13,368 people living on the streets. The data shows that 37% of those people voluntarily stated they have a substance use disorder.

This is a multi-faceted problem that isn’t easily solved. However, Harrell and the City of Seattle will keep throwing money at it until it goes away — no matter how much it will raise taxes.

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Mayor Harrell continues to throw money at Seattle’s homelessness problem