I was discouraged to see a recent letter by a state employee blaming the lack of “warm Enumclaw welcome” for the homeless crisis (“Rebuttle: our ‘warm welcome’ is how we succeed at ending homelessness”, published Nov. 16).
Enumclaw churches and residents participate in several outreach programs that offer vital assistance to the homeless. Our citizens sacrifice time and money out of a sense of compassion for others – not because our continued state funding depends upon it. Unlike King County’s public agencies, Enumclaw residents do not have a history of mismanaging hundreds of millions of dollars for homeless care. Nor do our yearly budgets balloon in direct proportion to the number of unfortunate people driven to the streets.
The Puget Sound Business journal spent six months conducting a budget audit to discover that King County spends over $1 billion a year battling homelessness. Evenly divided among the county’s estimated 40,000 homeless, that’s enough to hand each unhoused person $25,000. But our government agencies will not be handing the homeless $25k apiece. Instead, the King County Council budget shows homelessness agencies like the KCRHA will give themselves raises, hire more personnel, and expand their expensive bureaucracy.
These organizations, whose funding depends upon administering to the homeless, have no interest in solving the crisis. In fact, their jobs depend upon not solving it. This is why we continue to see failed policies focused on sustainable street-living, accommodating the homeless lifestyle, and ignoring crimes related to hard drug addiction.
The compassionate people of Enumclaw who run soup kitchens, food banks, and perform other types of social outreach year-round have not failed the homeless. The bureaucrats who have cynically capitalized upon this crisis and continue to monetize mass human misery failed them.