New rental units cost around $350,000 apiece to build, versus the $10,000 yearly cost to provide rental vouchers until recipients are back on their feet.
Poppe’s strongest words were aimed at the “tiny houses” that are being used to house some homeless, including families, in Seattle.
Don’t be fooled by the cute name. They’re sheds, not houses, with no running water or plumbing. Poppe said it’s awful that Seattle has families in these sheds. They violate United Nations human-rights standards and cause trauma that can lead to lifelong brain damage in children, she said.
On a brighter note, King County has done good work improving the quality of data gathered by organizations delivering homeless services.
This is essential to improving the response and ensuring that precious dollars aren’t wasted on programs that aren’t working as well as they should.
If vendors don’t provide good data, they no longer get paid, said Adrienne Quinn, director of the county’s Department of Community and Human Services.
Seattle is playing catch-up. It’s in the process of issuing contracts that will require proof of performance, overdue for an entity spending $89 million a year on human services.
Yet there’s pushback from vendors. Some say they lack resources to manage the reporting or the performance goals are unattainable.
They’re getting support from politicians to slow-walk this reform, which is a terrible idea. Disruption, not protection, of the current system is needed.
Politicians should first and foremost be fighting for the thousands of homeless people needing better outcomes, and residents and businesses generously funding service.
Lester said she’s “always curious” about the negative connotation that accountability has in this realm. No kidding.
For the sake of those suffering on our streets, bring more accountability with haste, to be sure we’re providing services that work and help as many people as possible.