Homelessness has long been a problem in Seattle and other urban areas across the state and country, and certainly the challenges of those without proper shelter are no laughing matter. However, now liberal politicians in Seattle have decided to do something, as if homelessness is something they just found about it.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine declared a “state of emergency,” following the lead of two other Democrat run cities—Los Angeles and Portland. It’s an attempt to get the federal government to help pay for the mess that Democrat mayors and city councils have created over the years.
In addition to the declaration, Murray presented a $5.3 million package to address both the immediate and long-term problems of homelessness. The one-time money will come from a sale of city-owned property in White Center. The package is in addition to a proposal to increase funding for homeless services by nearly $1.5 million in the city budget.
As for Constantine, he plans to increase spending for homeless services by $2 million across King County.
Let’s be clear, that Murray and Constantine want to do more to solve the problem of homelessness is good public policy. However, throwing more money at the problem – as liberals have done for years—is a suspect approach.
Murray and Constantine would do better to ask why money that has been spent by their liberal predecessors to address the problem has not produced results.
Nationally, Seattle is right behind New York and Los Angeles for spending on homeless services. Yet, despite the high spending level, the homelessness rate has increased even in the last year.
Murray and Constantine promise that the new funding will not be “business as usual.” But, they are making that promise prior to implementing any positive changes to their failed approach. In fact, the changes they’ve made thus far have been disastrous.
Murray admitted that changes he made earlier this year have failed. He said, “I thought we were on a path (that) would lead to better results. It hasn’t.”
Given decades of Democrats’ failing to make significant progress via their strategies, Murray and Constantine’s latest approach does not inspire confidence. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Throwing more money at Democrats’ failed solutions does not help the needy.
According to the Seattle Times, when a reporter questioned whether Murray’s latest plan would attract more homeless people to the city, Murray answered, “The last thing we want to end up doing is being a city that says, ‘No.’”
Murray’s response embodies the problem of Democrats’ “solutions.” It’s a “we can’t say no, not when we have other people’s money to spend” strategy that has—time and time again—failed. This year, it appears Democrats are poised to use the one-time money from a land sale to throw at the problem.