Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is crowing over an initiative to remove homeless camps that cost $143 million, relocating fewer than 1,000 people in what can only be seen as a massive failure.
(Video Credit: KING 5 Seattle)
The goal of the move, which has taken just a little over a year, was to remove homeless camps from roadways. As quickly as one is removed, two are taking its place. Inslee is calling for more taxpayer dollars to continue after burning through millions.
“You can’t do this with zero dollars,” Inslee, a Democrat, told KOMO News in a self-serving, grand-standing interview. “We’ll need the legislature in January to step up to increase funding so we can continue the progress we’re making.”
The Rights-of-Way Safety Initiative began in June 2022. It was intended to remove homeless camps from state property near roads and provide housing to the people living in them.
“On Friday, Inslee toured a tiny home village in Olympia funded by the initiative that will soon provide shelter to 50 people who previously lived in an encampment along I-5,” KOMO News reported. “The governor said during the tour that the safety initiative is out of money and, come January, camps will remain on state lands if the legislature does not allocate more funds.”
NEW: Those housed here, used to live by the freeway. The Right of Way Initiative got them here. But whatever progress exists,might be undone. Inslee today gave an ultimatum to legislators. He needs more $$$. Otherwise no work on state land/roadside camps can be done after January https://t.co/XhbGGkGSsG pic.twitter.com/9aJIkMFn9o
— Paul Rivera (@PaulRiveraNews) September 8, 2023
When asked if the camps would stay on state property if money is not allocated for it, Inslee responded “That’s correct. You can’t do this with zero dollars.”
“We will need more funding to continue this Right of Way Initiative. We essentially are out. We’ve run our string out for the ones we have planned right now,” he told KOMO News, “We need people to do the construction, we need people to do the outreach. We need law enforcement to be able to help. We need drug treatment to get these people off of the scourge of fentanyl. This takes a (financial) investment.”
“We’re very proud of the work state agencies have done in our right-of-way initiative working alongside local officials and service providers,” a spokesperson for Inslee told Fox News via an email. “We will take as much funding as we can get to continue this work.”
“About 1,300 people were swept from roadside camps as of July 31, with roughly 430 of those rejecting help getting into temporary or permanent shelter. That means it took $165,000 per person to clear the camps and house 870 people,” Fox News reported on the debacle.
HELL NO! Washington State spent $143 million on a homeless program that housed fewer than a thousand people.
How much are the directors getting paid? pic.twitter.com/UQJeXjyIB8
— Chris Randolph (@TrumpAF2024) September 15, 2023
According to the department, only 126 people have successfully left the program and have been placed into permanent housing such as a rented apartment or going to live with a family member.
The Commerce Department told journalist Brandi Kruse that the funding “includes capital allocations, which should be amortized over at least 30 years when looking at costs.”
“Washington has the fourth-largest homeless population in the country (25,211), exceeded only by California, New York, and Florida, according to 2022 Housing and Urban Development estimates. About half of Washington’s homeless are believed to be unsheltered and many are stuck in a pattern of chronic homelessness,” Fox News stated.
Inslee claims that the safety initiative has helped ensure neighborhoods are safe. His office also told Fox News that it has gotten almost 1,000 people “access to housing and services they need to escape the cycle of homelessness.”
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS: Monday afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee(@GovInslee) took a victory lap, taking credit for clearing the Myers Way encampment in West Seattle. However, some of the elderly neighbors at the Arrowhead Apts across the street say it’s too little too late after… https://t.co/z4pP1pIYlS pic.twitter.com/Wdlu98Gqu7
— Jonathan Choe Journalist (Seattle) (@choeshow) September 13, 2023
“This represents a fraction of the problem though, and much more state investment is needed to continue this work that benefits our communities in so many ways,” a spokesperson wrote in the never-ending call for more funding.
A spokesperson for the Department of Commerce told KOMO News, “There is funding to maintain existing operations through June 2025, but expansion to address additional sites is constrained by the need to keep housing people moved inside to date. Successfully transitioning people out of ROW-funded projects will free up capacity to address more encampments, but the scale will be less than in 2023. Commerce is working with local partners to determine realistic rates of transition as part of a larger recalibration process in the coming months.”
And when all else fails, the state of Washington, led by Inslee, is attempting to fleece Medicaid to provide for the homeless, claiming it is covered under healthcare. Leftists are now doing this across the country.
“Apple Health and Homes is a multi-agency state program launched last year that focuses on providing housing to people with health and behavioral health challenges. What’s unique is that the program taps Medicaid dollars to pay for housing subsidies, tenant services, and more,” Crosscut reported.
MORE FROM COMMERCE: Right now, the WA State Dept. of Commerce website does not have a full breakdown of what each category means, like “successful exits.” Here’s what a spokesperson sent me today. pic.twitter.com/kWN4ijWMjK
— Jonathan Choe Journalist (Seattle) (@choeshow) September 13, 2023
“This is a big paradigm shift in how the system helps people with housing,” Melodie Pazolt, managing director of the Office of Apple Health and Homes at the Department of Commerce, stated.
Apple Health is the state’s Medicaid program.
“People who are chronically homeless, or who have behavioral health needs, substance-use disorders or other health issues can qualify for Foundational Community Supports benefits. The program helps people gain housing through application and home search assistance, and also offers tenant supports, such as rental aid and treatment programs,” Crosscut noted.
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