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Saturday, January 13, 2024

Washington Spent Over $700,000 on Boulders to Deter Homeless Camps

Washington dropped a hefty quantity of taxpayer cash to stop homeless encampments throughout the state.

The state spent roughly $718,000 on massive boulders positioned alongside areas the place homeless individuals had beforehand congregated and camped, significantly close to busy highways.

Some residents appeared conflicted concerning the spending and the message it sends to the homeless, with one resident telling native information outlet Fox 13 Seattle that the cash may have been spent in higher methods. To BI, state officers emphasised the sources and planning that went into discovering higher options for the homeless neighborhood earlier than putting the boulders.

Earlier than the boulders have been positioned, the state administration supplied shelter to the homeless, which a majority of them accepted, Kris Abrudan, communications director of Washington State Division of Transportation, stated in an announcement to BI.

“Rocks are getting used at very particular places to stop re-encampment and that use is sort of small relative to the variety of encampments we’ve got throughout the state,” Abrudan stated.

The state’s Encampment Decision Program “presents a humane strategy to efficiently resolving encampments,” Abrudan stated, including this system has addressed 33 encampment websites throughout the state to date.

Abrudan stated the individuals who have been residing in these areas “had significant entry to the housing and providers they should keep inside and that program has been fairly profitable.”

The state positioned boulders in areas close to the state capital of Olympia and alongside Interstate 5. Two websites alongside the freeway have been as soon as house to over 200 individuals residing a brief distance from the busy interstate, Abrudan stated.

After relocating individuals to shelters, the state launched into trash cleanup, vegetation administration, and fence repairs, Abrudan stated, noting the state legislature allotted a complete of $12 million in direction of WSDOT’s clean-up efforts.

“Most of these boulders have been positioned final fall and between that work and monitoring the websites, they haven’t been re-encamped,” Abrudan stated, pointing to November 2023 statistics. “1,068 individuals accepted supplied housing and 836 individuals – 78 % – stay housed as of finish of the 12 months. To me, that is the actual story; the boulders are simply a part of it.”

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