One way to address homeless shelter issue | Letter

All the concerns about the location of the Bellevue homeless shelter ignores a major concern, namely how do you prevent it from attracting even more homeless to the area. The fact the number of homeless in Bellevue has doubled since the council began planning to add the shelter should be a warning.

One way to address the issue is to require those using the shelter work for the city’s Parks Department for up to 40 hours a week. They would receive half of whatever and however, Bellevue pays their parks’ employees. The remaining half would be put into a separate fund for each shelter worker to accumulate as long as he remains there. He can get access to the fund by leaving the shelter with the proviso that he will not be allowed to return within some minimum length of time. Whether he would remain working with the parks department would be by mutual consent.

The work requirement would likely make the shelter less appealing, reducing “demand.” (Those who work for others would have their employer deposit half their wages into the fund.) It would provide those living in the shelter with something to do during the day and potentially enhance their ability to find work elsewhere. And the fund would provide a “nest egg” that might make “leaving” a more viable option.

Bill Hirt

Bellevue

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