Screenshot 2024-04-29 092941
Fix Homelessness How to rebuild human lives

Burien Small Business Closes Due to Homelessness Crisis


Downtown Burien business Iris & Peony is exiting the city because of the unending homeless drug crisis playing out on the streets everyday. Owner Robyn Desimone says she can no longer make a living being a daily victim of vandalism and other crimes. She’s also blaming the city, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall for allowing their nasty legal battle over the public camping ordinance to continue this long without a solution.

She also believes the new “low barrier” DESC apartment complex coming into Burien next month will be a disaster, attracting more chronically homeless drug addicts and compounding problems since the operator does not require addiction treatment.

Dow Constantine’s Policies Are Failing

Look at the devastating loss in business for Desimone. This is untenable. Constantine’s political power play has turned Burien into a human dumping ground, all part of his regional approach to solving homelessness. But it’s failing and businesses are ejecting. That’s also because he’s doubling down on policies that don’t work like “housing first” and “harm reduction.” The homeless should be housed, but not without basic rules, regulations, and requirements to take that next step in their lives. People are still dying of drug overdoses in low barrier “health through housing” situations. That’s because the county is just warehousing people out of sight and out of mind. The root causes like drug addiction, mental illness, and broken relationships are not being addressed. Where is the outrage?

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.