What never gets reported on is how when you provide homeless services the homeless population increases. The City of Redmond is a perfect example. About three years ago Down Town Redmond did not have a significant homeless problem. But since they started providing services to young homeless men three years ago the homeless population has skyrocketed. The problem is mostly young men.
Per the Redmond City Focus Group Minutes 21 out of 21 homeless interviewed by the City of Redmond that answered the question where they were from before they became homeless in Redmond all 21 of them gave a location other than Redmond. The interviews were conducted by Colleen Kelly the Assistant Director of Community Planning for the City of Redmond, I was at one of the interviews. The proof is in the interview minutes. If you do not believe the attachments go directly to the City web site, see below. Eight out of the twenty one persons interviewed were from another state.
Interviews of the homeless are on the City of Redmond web site here. To get to them scroll down to Focus Groups.
The Redmond Reporter had the facts, but when they reported on the Homeless Task Force they would not report the fact that 21 out of 21 persons interviewed were not from Redmond.
If City Hall had not given a 64.3% super majority to homeless advocates on the task force the following proposals would have been passed and reduced the imported homeless problem in Redmond at very little cost to the city:
1) Adopt a panhandling ordinance - This has been done by Tacoma and Pierce County in 2007 and 2008. Constitutionally it has not been challenged. The regulations prohibit panhandling near ATM machines, near the entrance to a business (you have to be 25' away to smoke), at night, as someone is getting out of their car (you are in a vulnerable position), etc. Karen Reed the consultant that ran the Task Force confirmed that the ordinances have not been challenged and that the Police typically do not give fines or make arrests but use the ordinance as a tool. Currently in Redmond if a person wants to panhandle next to an ATM and a Police Officer asks him to move, the panhandler can tell him to get lost that he has every right to panhandle next to the ATM. This item got 57% support, if the Task Force had not been filled with 64.3% homeless advocates it would have been recommended.
2) Post Signs to discourage panhandling and encourage the public to give to charities instead - Being given money attracts panhandlers. If you encourage the public not to give to panhandlers directly it will help to reduce panhandling. This item got 43% support, if the Task Force had not been filled with 64.3% homeless advocates it would have been recommended.
Redmond Homeless Task Force Member
Building Owner, Down Town Redmond