Spokane spent millions on vagrant problem, but it just grew



Spokane County commissioners asked the hard questions and came up with few answers about the efficacy of millions of dollars spent on homelessness only to see more people on the streets.

The frustration came after a strategic planning meeting Monday, with commissioners getting bogged down in details about the implementation of an interlocal agreement regarding a new regional homeless authority.

“I guess one of my questions […] is again, what is helping make a difference, or not, versus what have we been doing?” asked Commissioner Mary Kuney.

uney pointed out that what they’ve been doing hasn’t been working because, as recent point-in-time count numbers have shown, most metrics related to homelessness in Spokane County are on the rise.

“What’s causing our numbers to go up because we’re putting more money into prevention?” asked Kuney, noting that even if the interlocal agreement establishes a new regional homeless authority, commissioners will still be responsible for spending their constituents’ tax monies wisely.

Commissioner Josh Kerns echoed the concern.

“How much money went through this community for rental assistance over the last three years to keep people in their houses, and the number still went up? Like you said, why?” asked Kerns.

The general tone of the discussion was one of addressing root causes and spending taxpayer funds efficiently and effectively.

Sharing the sentiment, Commissioner Al French asked if a comparison to Tacoma’s policy would be possible, given that they’re of a similar size to Spokane, and much of the City of Spokane’s policy drives policy county-wide.

“Since [Tacoma’s] numbers are considerably lower than ours, what are they doing differently than we are that is driving their numbers down? Is there a policy decision that we’ve made that is attracting more, or are they just shifting more of their homeless into Seattle and King County?” asked French.

“If that’s the solution, maybe we need to start getting a bus to Kootenai County,” joked French.

The same county whose sheriff recently warned off Washington criminals for the 4th of July holiday weekend with the slogan, “Don’t come to Kootenai County on vacation, and leave on probation.”

Despite being a joke, the quip from French moved the conversation to one of geography.

It was noted that Spokane is a “receiving entity,” offering many more services than any of the nearby counties, including those in Idaho.

Tacoma was referred to as a “sending entity,” and Seattle as the “receiving entity,” implying that disparity was the cause for the increasing numbers in Spokane County.

“Our geographic region is not just Spokane County; it’s the nine counties that surround us. Stevens to Whitman, Canada to Oregon,” commented Commissioner French, highlighting the immense size of the geographic region of Spokane, which covers the better part of a third of the state of Washington.

The meeting went on to discuss other funding issues but ultimately concluded with more questions than answers.

The commissioners agreed to continue the discussion next week.


  1. Of course it grew. The people destroying our country (Democrats) want everyone using hard core drugs, and they do not enforce the rule of law. Plus, these morons subsidize bad behavior.

    Ronald Reagan summarized the Democrat mindset beautifully:

    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

    • Yes, and Washington State decriminalized heroin, coke, and meth in 2021. Do the residents really believe saying it is okay to do hard drugs will help the situation? See ‘https://www.kuow.org/stories/washington-undertakes-two-year-experiment-with-new-drug-possession-law.

      • Spot on PJ, Drugs alcohol or anything that offers mind altering mental capacity (lysol gas fumes hair spray) for when they cant afford the good stuff until payday then its heroine crack meth.
        Liberal Democrats always cry because someone lost their job wife kids family home car life they deserve free help. Bulls**t! They are victims of their lousy lazy choices to live like rodents digging in trash for food shelter warmth.
        Everyone suffers loss such as wife son daughter job family. Its the pathetic choices made on THEIR behalf that either puts them on the street or pick up the pieces and go back to work and you will have life again.
        I have known people that suffered bankruptcy several times and they are still independant because of their choice to work.
        The homeless are not old crippled physically handicapped people. They are just lazy and drug/alcohol dependant.

  2. If you quit the handouts the problem will solve its self. They will get jobs or steal to survive. When they steal they should be put in jail or a homeowner will take care of the problem sense the law is overly lax.

  3. The best way to help the poor and vagrant is not to become one of them. Per the Holy Scripture despised by commies: “Bad associations spoil useful habits”.

  4. “Build it and they will Come” Anchorge homeless population will only increase the more that is spent on enabling them.

  5. Tick tock Anchorage assembly, all eyes are on you, behave and rule like republicans and everything will be fine, or not.

  6. It’s amazing simple. The more a community spends on placating the homeless, it will attract more.

    Same with every single thing they’ve done in the name of social “welfare”.

    Every single time.

    Liberals and logic are often mutually exclusive.

  7. Well, I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you.
    No, I am not.
    I wonder… the very same homeless industrial complex “consultants” that advised Spokane to do this, are they the same ones talking to our Anchorage assembly? (Even if they are not the same companies, I will bet every dollar pResiden Briben let’s me keep in my wallet, they are advising the same approach.)
    Spokane, Seattle, Portland, San Fran, and now Anchorage are proof positive that simply throwing money at a problem will not help, and it almost always makes the situation worse. Want less homeless? Stop catering to them. How many homeless people will somehow find a way to get work and housing if living in the streets was not made comfortable via government/taxpayer handouts?

    • You have it backwards. The leftists will spend first, then tax you to pay for their luxury spending.

      • And then, when the initial spending fails to actually solve the problem but instead grows the problem and creates additional negative consequences, they’ll push for even more spending and taxing, and on and on it goes…

  8. Good thing Anchorage is following their model. Wonder how many nonprofits they have. Reminds me of Africa where the elite class gets rich from “helping “ the poor. Give them just enough to depend on the handouts, and keep the rest.

  9. Too many people are making money off of the homeless problem. They do not want to solve the problem because they would be out of a job. This includes people on the Anchorage assembly. We must vote these people out of office. We need to start posting photos of how bad things are so other people can see how bad it is.

      • They already are blaming it on Mayor Bronson.
        Have you heard the ads from 907 Initiative? The only reason there is even a single homeless person in Anchorage is 100% his fault.

  10. The obvious solution to this nationwide crisis is a wide open border. Why can’t conservatives understand this?

    • Conservatives do understand this, Democrats stop any type of control the border states put in place such a Arizona’s container wall and Texas anchoring buoys in the rivers. This open border and its consequences is all part of a plan, just the the homeless crisis we live with everyday.

    • The border problem is because the elite needs more cheap domestic labor and people to harvest their farms. Oops, that is too familiar. Guess they at least don’t whip them publicly anymore But that is a different story.

      • America has the border children and young adults doing the farm and factory labor work without pay. You can’t get work out of the homeless people, they too drugged up and too mentally unstable.

  11. I’m in same agreement as that trans man to woman testifier last night at Anchorage Assembly meeting. The cities MUST criminalize those homeless members who do illegal activities and make them serve the time needed to hold them accountable for mostly just using drugs. The testifier opinion is those going into public bathrooms to do their drugs needs to stop while a mommy is next to their child shopping an aisle at the gas station, which is just wrong not criminalizing these homeless to the fullest extent of the laws on our states books.

  12. It’s just so so so sad seeing individuals wasting their lives away in a homeless camp when there are jobs out there and employees who would appreciate them making it to work to keep the days work a bit easier. But. Oh well! More money on my time card. Snooze and you lose out earning money. While they wait for whoever to help them, is workers get a paycheck every two weeks.

  13. Fighting human nature here. Any time you plow millions of dollars into a problem, a specific set of parasites appear and try to get their hands on that money. You know, all those people who have the current ‘great idea’ to solve an age old problem. Just give them a cut of that fat bank account and they assure you that the problem will be fixed. Except it never gets fixed.

    Then you have the professional street people. If a new program pops up that will support them JUST enough to allow them to keep getting drunk/stoned, they will flock to it. Even from other cities. Don’t believe me? Look at the programs that are available today. If, God forbid, any one of us found ourselves homeless, there are several programs available that would support us until we could get back to paying our own bills and providing our own shelter. BUT! Those programs require, if not on paper then in reality, that each person partaking in the program be responsible for their own conduct. This means finding a job, spending your money from that job on food/clothing/shelter, not alcohol and drugs. This is something that many simply will not do. These people need to be cut off from further access to homeless benefits so that these limited funds can go the people that will use them correctly. Yes that means what I wrote; refuse to give them any benefits at all, then they have no reason to stay in our area and hopefully realize that drastic change is due in their lives or die.

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