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WA Law Would Strong-Arm Cities That Vote to Reject Low-Barrier Housing Projects

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Government Overreach

WA State Rep. Strom Peterson (@Strom_Peterson) is attempting to strong-arm local jurisdictions that reject homeless housing projects. The categories include transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, indoor emergency shelters, and indoor emergency housing.

He’s introduced HB 2474, a deeply flawed bill that would give the state power and authority to choke-off tax revenues to cities that don’t play ball. The bill is in response to Kenmore’s recent F-U to Plymouth Housing’s 100 unit apartment complex that would have drawn in chronically homeless drug addicts and mentally ill residents.

So isn’t affordable housing a good thing? Of course it is and more should be built for vulnerable families, seniors, and veterans. But not if it has anything to do with the “low barrier” model that allows a free for all drug culture and requires zero mandates for addiction treatment. In some cases, they even give out free drug supplies like meth pipes and heroine needles in the name of “harm reduction.” In Seattle, most of the “low barrier” DESC and Plymouth buildings are the source of an inordinate amount of 911 calls, drug use, and crime.

Anyway, HB 2474 has been quietly winding it’s way through the legislative session and just made it out of the House. On Tuesday, it will go before a Senate Committee and many communities are anxiously watching how it all shakes out. So far, comments made by some Democratic lawmakers show how clueless they are about the ramifications of this reckless bill. As for Plymouth representative Elizabeth Murphy, her testimony is utterly disingenuous as she conveniently leaves out the part about rampant drug use and illicit activity in many of her buildings.

In closing, the spin and intentional withholding of vital details is how WA’s homeless industrial complex has continued to flourish. By the time average citizens realize what’s really going on with these “low barrier” housing situations, it’s too late and too big to fail. Time for constituents to wake up and engage in this process. At the very least, demand more affordable housing minus the hardcore street drugs or require treatment for addiction and mental illness. Otherwise, you’re just warehousing people without addressing any of the root causes that will inevitably spill out into the community.

HB 2474 has zero bipartisan support. The sponsors include Democratic State Reps Strom Peterson, Emily Alvarado, Mia Gregerson, Liz Berry, Mari Leavitt, Mary Fosse, Nicole Macri, Greg Nance, Frank Chopp, and Jessica Bateman.

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.