The demographic and economic make up of Burien is changing and I’m expecting that both homelessness hand-in-hand with poverty, drugs and crime could be significantly increasing in Burien in the next coming years.
Some of the leading contributors to this increased homelessness is going to be:
- It may be safer for homeless in Burien than being in Seattle?
- Families that just make it paycheck to paycheck or are on public assistance may be displaced as housing and rents increase in Burien.
- Senior and retirees nearing retirement having difficulty making ends meet while still paying ever increasing property taxes and utility bills.
- Reasonably priced neighborhoods today will be priced outside the means of low income families.
- Increasing cost of housing is going to push more people into the homeless ranks over time.
- Lack of and decreasing numbers of low income housing.
Homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness is going to continue to exert more pressure on Burien human services, schools, churches and public safety. We need to have a plan in place that facilitates a path for the homeless, drug addicted and mentally ill in Burien out of this downward spiral that are in these dire straits.
This problem is a national and regional issue that’s not going to be solved by the City alone. I wish it was as simple as if your homeless, give you a home; no place to sleep, give you a bed; if your hungry, give you a meal; if your in poverty, give you money. The solutions I see advocated today are just not going to be solved simply.
The solutions in place in Seattle of creating Eco-systems and services to enable and support homelessness and drug addiction as a lifestyle is not solving anything, but is in many instances enabling living on public & private assistance as a lifestyle choice. I don’t advocate the City funding these types of Eco-systems although creating jobs and supporting businesses that hire the homeless to me are better solutions that I fully support.
Lets investigate city hiring practices and contracts with local businesses that participate in the multi-million dollar Burien budget. Any business that has contacts or businesses that pay B&O tax with/to the city should contain incentives to hire or somehow help the homeless and poverty stricken within Burien. Additionally, we should expand the economic development office to include seeking federal, state, county monies and/or create a non-profit organization focused on Burien human services needs.