As National Press Mostly Snoozes, Add Seattle to the List of Cities Where Homelessness Is Rising

A week ago, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat, called homelessness in his city and the rest of King County a "full-blown crisis."

Based on the numbers presented in coverage of the area's situation, we can certainly add the Emerald City to the list of areas where homelessness has been on the rise. Odds are that many readers here didn't know that, because the national press hardly ever pays attention to homelessness when a Democrat occupies the White House. Now imagine the firestorm which would erupt if a Republican or conservative proposed the "solution," however allegedly temporary, Murray is advancing (bolds are mine):

Seattle's mayor proposes new tent cities to deal with homelessness

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will submit legislation to the City Council this week seeking approval of three new homeless encampments, saying the tent cities are needed to deal with rising homelessness, his office said on Thursday.

The proposal would bring to nine the number of authorized camps in the Pacific Northwest city as the mayor take steps to address what he called a "full-blown crisis" over homelessness.

So there are already six "homeless encampments," better known as "tent cities." Now there will be nine — and this is considered a positive step.

The Seattle Times reports that the homelessness numbers rose significantly from January 2013 to January 2014:

... last January’s One Night Count of people sleeping on the streets and in vehicles was more than 2,300 in Seattle, the mayor noted. Throughout King County, the tally was more than 3,100. The 2013 numbers were much lower: 1,989 and 2,736, respectively.

Updating a chart found here, we can see how the situation has changed since 2006:


The three-year rise, which can be fairly characterized as dramatic (four years counting the past 12 months, as officials expect the number to rise again), has happened while the the left and the Obama administration have been touting the wonders of the nation's alleged economic recovery.

In a column published at another site in December, I noted that the homelessness problem is arguably worse than it was 5-1/2 years ago when the recession officially ended (bolds are mine; links are in original):

While the gatekeeping establishment press insists on promoting the alleged wonders of the nation’s still-nascent “recovery,” two indicators relating to homelessness surfaced this month with relatively little notice. Five and a half years after the official end of the recession and six years into Barack Obama’s presidency, these indicators demonstrate that the problem has not only not lessened, it has arguably gotten worse.

... on December 11, ... the United States Conference of Mayors released its annual Hunger and Homelessness Report, a 25-city survey of conditions. The report’s press release cited “increased demand this year for emergency food and housing.” Imagine that.

... Six out of the nation’s ten most populous cities participated in the mayors’ survey; New York, Houston, San Diego and San Jose were not among them. ... San Jose’s problem (discussed earlier in the column -- Ed.) has gone through the roof. New York City reported over 53,615 sheltered homeless in the most recent year, an increase of 7 percent. A report out of Houston claims that the city has 6,000 “point in time” homeless. San Diego’s 2013 homeless population was still 4.5 percent higher than it was in 2010.

Of the 24 reporting cities in the survey (Memphis strangely abstained), 14 reported increases in their homeless population during the past year, including four of the six most populous. Twelve expect increases next year, again including those same four. Several of the cities not experiencing increases last year or expecting increases during the coming year reported and anticipated no change. Thus, ... the overall result clearly weighs in favor of concluding that there was an overall increase in homelessness during the past year, and that there will be another increase in the coming year.

My column did not look at Seattle, as it's not in the top 10 in population nationwide and it wasn't in the Mayors' report. So we can add it to the list of cities with a serious problem, strengthening the conclusion I reached in my December column.

As I noted near the end of that column, the Mayors' report, while not directly citing policy failures in Washington, essentially admitted three things:

  • First, the problems of hunger and homelessness have worsened.
  • Second, the nation really hasn’t recovered from a recession which officially ended in mid-2009.
  • Finally, six years of left-driven economic policies, contrary to at least their stated intentions, have created a prosperous economy for the few, but not for the many.

There's strong reason to believe that the situation will continue to deterioriate, and that the nation's press will largely continue to ignore it if it indeed does.

It's almost impossible to imagine the press cutting a big-city Republican any slack for expanding tent cities as a form of public policy, or the nation's press not tying situations like these back to a Republican or conservative presidential administration.

Cross-posted at

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