Some Basic Arithmetic

Washington State has spent $143 million to get homeless folks out of camps from state property near roads and housed.

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.
The department says 126 people have successfully exited the program into permanent housing….

Washington has 25,200 homeless folks (that makes Washington’s homeless population the fourth largest in the nation, for those of you keeping track at home). Those exited from the program represent less than 10% of those 1,300 swept. The State’s Progressive-Democratic Party Governor, Jay Inslee, says he needs more money:

You can’t do this with zero dollars. We’ll need the legislature in January to step up to increase funding….

Now the third grade arithmetic. The State blew through $143 million to deal with 1,300 homeless. That means Inslee wants $2.772 billion to handle all of the State’s homeless.

Inslee is willing to spend Other People’s Money, those $2.772 billion, in order to house 16,900 of those 25,200 homeless, or, still $165,000 per homeless person accepting the State’s housing offer.

Inslee is willing to spend Other People’s Money, those $2.772 billion, in order to permanently house 2,440 homeless, or $1.135 million per permanently housed.

Of course, my arithmetic ignores economies of scale, and duplication of fixed costs, but you get the idea. The only solution to this problem, or any other, that Progressive-Democratic Party politicians can conceive is to throw ever more Other People’s Money at it.

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