Reducing Homelessness: Now you’re talking

Seattle Times (Around the Northwest)
Friday, December 11, 2015


This story indicates a move in the right direction for Seattle and other large West Coast cities. Hopefully, demographics on homeless people who wind up in these cities now be collected to determine how homeless people move from one place to another. These are some of the questions that can be answered after the data is collected:

► What percentage of homeless people in these cities moved there from somewhere else? How likely is someone to move after he becomes homeless?

► What percentage of homeless people are drifters? Why do homeless people who move from place to place choose one city over another?

► Do many people become homeless as a direct result of moving one place to another, and if so, what are the contributing factors?

► Are some cities and towns doing more than others to help homeless people. Are some states doing more than their share? If so, do they become homeless magnets?


With the answers to these questions in hand, public officials in Seattle can finally begin to determine why they aren’t making any headway in reducing homelessness in the city. I believe the data – if it is collected scientifically and studied honestly – will show that Seattle and a handful of other cities have, through well-intended but unsound policies, become magnets for the homeless and perpetuators of homelessness.

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