Bellevue should get ahead of homeless problem | Letter

The argument goes that the war on drugs doesn’t work and drugs should be legal. Giving people shelter and a sense of community may help a few (say, 10 percent) seek addiction recovery. That’s simply not a successful result.

What hasn’t been covered yet in this discussion is the foster care system. Many foster children are a result of addicted parents. When foster children turn 18, they have a greater chance of becoming homeless. It is a vicious cycle. We need a cohesive, metric-driven intervention; otherwise, more homeless people will be “created” than rehabilitated. With more in than out, the number of homeless will continue to grow even without an influx from other regions (and we know there will be an influx). More tax dollars will be requested. The tipping point will be reached and businesses will not want to come to or stay in Bellevue because taxes are too expensive for their employees. This is not sustainable. The number of homeless will not stay constant or decline. With the current approach, the number of homeless will grow.

Bellevue has a real chance to get ahead of the problem. Establish a cohesive metric-driven approach. Hold ourselves accountable to the goals. Melinda Gates says, “What isn’t measured doesn’t get worked on.” Come on Bellevue, let’s measure this and work on it.

Stephanie Walter


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