Can homelessness end? Not this way
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD
Like many cities, Seattle is working on plans to end homelessness in 10 years. But no city can pull off such a worthy goal without help.
Unless the federal government is a true partner, the now-chronic problems will entangle men, women and children who today still have decent shelter. But even as hard-pressed cities (and states) look at what they can do better, the federal government is in retreat.
Increasingly, the federal vision focuses on spotting opportunities to shirk more responsibility without getting much blame. Another small step backward is likely today, when the House Appropriations Committee votes on housing funds for next year.
A subcommittee has approved across-the-board cuts of some 4.3 percent for most housing programs. The full committee’s members, including U.S. Reps. Norm Dicks and George Nethercutt of Washington, ought to reverse the cuts. Sad to say, housing advocates fear committee Republicans might decide to do even worse by housing so they can restore money for space programs in House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s Houston-area district.
Homelessness is almost always an unnecessary tragedy. The federal government must join cities in resisting the apathy that treats this serious social problem as a routine and acceptable part of American life. (emphasis added by me)
‘Let’s see: housing for those homeless welfare bums or pork for The Hammer’s home district? That’s a tough one. Lemme think….OK. All done.’
Why isn’t it possible to restore the money for the space program and help build housing for those who need it when we’re talking about less money in total than the amount the Pentagon spends in a month on Star Wars R&D–the single most pointless and massive waste of government money ever devised? Why is that a priority, this sinkhole of $$Billions and Billions$$$ of our tax money over the course of 20+ years for a pipe dream that scientists admit doesn’t and probably won’t ever work and even the Pentagon’s strategists say isn’t necessary or an efficient use of defense dollars, when we’ve got hundreds of thousands of people living on the streets? When did paranoid fantasies get pushed to the top of the list and hard-core reality to the bottom? How did our priorities get so far out of whack?