‘I think it is important that we consider the history of powerful people in society moving out undesirables…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Seattle is looking at a new way to solve its homelessness crisis: busing them out of the city and sending them to family members who can take care of them.
The “Homeward Bound” program, introduced by a few King County council members, would allocate $250,000 to the transportation of hundreds of homeless people in the city.
It would provide recipients with a one-way bus ticket to anywhere in the U.S. along with meal vouchers, and the program would be entirely voluntary.
“If we are going to have a meaningful reduction of the number of homeless people on our streets, the elected officials need to do their job and make tough choices,” Councilmember Reagan Dunn said, according to KOMO News, “and I’m asking them to make those tough choices today.”
The program would require its participants to move far away from Seattle, however. Homeless individuals would not be allowed to move to counties adjacent to the city.
Not everyone is on board with the plan, though. Councilmember Rod Dembowski said it could set a disturbing precedent.
“I think it is important that we consider the history of powerful people in society moving out undesirables,” he said.
Dunn defended the program and said it would treat every volunteer humanely.
“We want to make sure that there is someone there that can care for them, that there is a roof over their head, that they’re stable, and they’re in a position to provide care,” he explained.
Dunn also pointed to several other cities in the region that have adopted similar programs, like San Francisco, which invested $1.2 million in a similar Homeward Bound program in 2018. The city was able to relocate about 800 people. And just last year King County relocated 53 homeless families in a similar manner.
Dunn said he’s met with the homeless population and when asked if they would take advantage of the program, about 1,000 people said they would gladly reunite with family members across the country.