Homelessness, drug abuse and mental health

As I’ve said many times, Washington doesn’t have a homelessness problem. It has an addiction and mental health problem.

People who deny this plain truth are usually pushing self-interested agendas.

Government policy on homelessness should be to help troubled people resolve the core issues that cause their troubles. It should NOT be to enable people who are caught in downward spirals of addiction or other self-destructive behaviors. Enabling the afflicted isn’t compassionate—it’s callous and brutal. Washington’s current Governor has enabled such behaviors—and we see every day the bad results. People living on our streets in third world inhumane conditions.

We need to help our neighbors who are down-and-out. In fact, we have a moral obligation to our communities to do so. While government shouldn’t be the only method for providing this help, it does have a role to play. I see that role primarily as a support—or “force multiplier”—to private, charitable activities. I believe in Washington citizens. We are some of the most generous, compassionate and socially mindful citizens in our country. Your state government should magnify that goodness.

There are great examples of this approach working in several parts of Washington. One is in Longview, where the organizations Community House and CORE Health work cooperatively to get people off the streets. Permanently. To be clear, Community House’s programs aren’t just a no-strings handout. They require people to commit to getting better, living better lives—and, once people make that commitment, Community House and CORE Health provide the space and basic services to help them. It’s not luxury…it’s not always pretty…but it works. Not only does it work, it produces much better results than so-called “no barrier” or “wet” homeless housing schemes do.