Seattle-Area Republican Proposes Homeless Busing Program

A tent sits under an on-ramp as traffic drives past during morning rush hour in Seattle on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Even as homelessness declined slightly nationwide in 2015, it increased in urban areas, including Seattle, New York and Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

A Republican councilman has proposed a $1 million plan to bus homeless people out of Seattle, Washington, reports said.

Reagan Dunn, a King County councilman, said the proposal is part of a “family reunification plan” to send individuals who cannot afford travel expenses to live with family members in other states if they are willing to take them in, according to Fox News.

The Seattle Times reported:

Such busing programs, in place since at least the 1980s in some places, have had varying degrees of success: They can be an inexpensive way to connect people with housing but they can also lead to vulnerable people being sent to unfamiliar environments with no guarantee of permanent — or even better — housing.

“Seattle has become a dead-end street for the nation’s homeless, we see that, 45% are here for four years or less,” Dunn said. “It’s a family reunification option, free of charge for folks who are chronically homeless on our streets who think they can get better care or more help by going anywhere else across the country.”

In February, Breitbart News reported that Washington state was looking at a bill that would give the homeless population state-issued ID cards for free.

However, the report said the cards would end up costing the state several hundred thousand dollars.

“The program, if it passes the state legislature, would cost the state Commerce Department and the Department of Licensing an estimated $460,000 between 2019 and 2021 to operate,” according to the report.

If Seattle’s leaders decide to implement Dunn’s plan, it would be modeled after San Francisco’s Homeward Bound program that has averaged 800 one-way tickets each year for the past 14 years, at a cost of $270 each. Reports said San Francisco has budgeted $1.2 million to keep the program in operation.

However, Dunn said someone had to have the courage to talk about the problem of homelessness in the area.

“We have the highest homelessness rate per capita because we’re promoting failed policies,” Dunn said. “We don’t need more government to promote Seattle-centric policies.”

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