It will never be enough: Guess how much taxpayer money is needed to solve King County’s homeless crisis

The 2019 King County Point in Time County data showed that there were 11,199 people experiencing homelessness across the region. This included 5,971 people sheltered in emergency shelters, safe havens and transitional housing and 5,228 people on the streets, in vehicles or staying in tents or encampments.

These numbers represented a 17% decrease in unsheltered people – the first decrease in homelessness in the region in the past seven years.

In March 2005 King County developed a ten-year plan to “end homelessness.”

Fast forward ten years to 2015 when King County/Seattle couldn’t end homelessness and then declared a “state of emergency” on the homeless crisis.

Since then, they have been spending over a BILLION a year to solve the homeless crisis. A BILLION taxpayer dollars a year for the end result of a 17% decrease (which took seven years to achieve).

A report done by McKinsey & Company consulting firm now estimates that it will cost between $450 million to $1.1 billion a year over 10 years to fully house the homeless and low-income population.

The study states that the county has spent billions of taxpayer dollars and their “best efforts have been aimed at the symptoms of this problem and not at its root causes.”

Apparently the solution is to build additional affordable housing that will require substantial incremental public spending. As the study notes though, “building alone will not fix the problem.”

Also from the study:

“It is common to lay the blame for homelessness on individual failures and personal weaknesses. More than one civic source has attributed homelessness to addiction. Others cite mental health or a failure of “personal responsibility.” People point to alcohol abuse and, in the case of veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder, as possible root causes. In fact, the majority are not addicts, and very few people cite substance abuse as a root cause of homelessness.

McKinsey & Company’s conclusion: “Seattle and King County can set an example for other coastal cities battling homelessness by confronting homelessness in a fact-driven manner melding head and heart. The region’s prosperity ought to be an impetus and catalyst for positive change. Reducing homelessness to near-zero levels should be the collective goal.”

Read the whole study here.

The majority of homeless in King County are not substance abusers nor do they have mental illness issues? That’s news to me.

In the Seattle area, it is estimated that 46-70% of homeless women and men report having substance abuse issues. And last July it was reported mental-health detentions had surged in King County, with homeless people more likely to return. From the Seattle Times story:

“People with housing instability represented 25% of all involuntary treatment cases from 2014 through 2018, and 41% of people with at least three prior cases, according to the auditor’s office report. More than 50% of people with unstable housing returned to the system within three years, compared to 36% of people with stable housing.”

My prediction: Fast forward to 2030 and after $11 BILLION taxpayer dollars has been spent, you are still going to have a homeless crisis in King County. After all, “fact-driven” solutions that ignore obvious root causes of homelessness only fund$ the homeless industrial complex.

DCG

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Eddie
Eddie
6 months ago

Let’s do a little math: 11,100 homeless people X $100,000 for some type of shelter (condo/small house/townhome/etc.) comes to $1.1 billion. That’s to buy EVERY homeless person their own home — as a one-time payment, not even factoring in shared housing as an option. So, they need to spend a billion every YEAR to “solve” the homeless problem. Sounds like a racket to me. Let me in on it.

William
William
6 months ago

I’d be willing to bet the 17 percent decrease represents people who have moved away, been put in prison, or died. Almost all the homeless clients I worked with were homeless due to bad decisions due to impaired judgement due to alcohol/drug abuse. I would backtrack them: you’re homeless because..? I got kicked out of my apartment. You got kicked out because..? I didn’t pay my rent. You didn’t pay your rent because..? I had no money because I lost my job. You lost your job because..? I took too many days off. You took days off because..? I was… Read more »

She,Her, Mrs
She,Her, Mrs
6 months ago
Reply to  William

Bingo

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
6 months ago
Reply to  William

William . . . you are absolutely correct. For some reason the rest of society is expected to pick up the pieces for those who are just plain anti-social.

Pearl
Pearl
6 months ago

I’ve heard it said that we cannot take a position that implies our opposition is acting in bad faith, but must assume they are “rational actors”, and attempt to persuade them through intelligent argument. I think the upshot of this article is that this is false. At some point, we, as a society, MUST come to terms with the reality that there ARE factions who are acting in bad faith, whose goals are intentionally to do harm, who are using our determined cluelessness against us and deliberately tearing down our communities by introducing toxic elements which can’t be assimilated into… Read more »

William
William
6 months ago
Reply to  Pearl

Agreed,we attribute the appallingly destructive policies of the left to incompetence or stupidity (those are only factors to consider re: the useful idiot foot soldiers) but the architects of those policies know exactly what they are doing. I think of the hooker in the opening scene of JFK trying to warn the FBI about the plot to kill the president: “These are serious fu**ing people”. If we fail to grasp that we are done

Michael Garrison
Michael Garrison
6 months ago

Well, if we can ship in foreigners and GIVE THEM EVERYTHING they need, then we can sure as he’ll do it for our own people.

Hellpig
Hellpig
6 months ago

I live in Rat City aka White Center a unincorporated part of Seattle…The Industrial Homeless Complex is nothing but a taxpayer funded scam..Progressive Communists have turned this once great city into a feces covered junkie utopia….CC EVERYWHERE or you’ll end up a victim dead at the hands of a junkie who was arrested 70 times yet walks free….Seattle and King Co. are a 3rd world craphole

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
6 months ago

Anyone who thinks that homelessness is not fueled by substance abuse, and mental illness is out of their ever lovin’ mind.