Questioning The Strategy Of Closing Shelters To End Homelessness

The grubby interior of an abandoned dormitory with double-bunk beds
This scene was created by and is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication clings to an underlying notion that financialization, no matter how honourable the motives that can be assigned to those who practice it, nonetheless impacts a country’s population with the force of war.

The infectious nature of financialization upon the stability of a nation’s communities and individuals can only be effectively addressed by a national commitment that is akin to that of warfare. To be successful, however, it means national government leadership and financing, both funding and expenditure.

Reinforcing our attitude are the homeless events that appear regularly in the media. Battles that should be fought by national armies are led and lost by platoon-sized local governments with little or no understanding of their role, the financial weapons they need to deploy nor the consequences of their blunders.

Here’s a particularly fine example of the inability of lesser government actions in Washington State.

It is at least understandable that any (and eventually every) small government will explore the benefits of driving homeless local civilians out of town, imagining that a bus ticket paid to some faraway beyond-the-pale will do the trick.

But South King County in Washington State has hit upon a truly scorched earth policy: driving shelters out of existence. And in that act they offer compelling proof that they lack both the resources as well as imagination. Victims of the homeless war will NEVER be rescued by torching shelters, or tent encampments, shooing them next door with a bus ticket1, or flying them to the mainland from Hawaii2, or setting them off on a dogsled3 towards the lower 48 from Alaska.

Read more about the latest ‘solution’ to homelessness from Washington State in the Seattle Times: Despite state law, South King County cities limit homeless shelters


  1. Try: Heading North To Fort St. John, Homeless, Penniless And Bussed?
  2. Try: Hawaii: Paradise To Some. Rough Visit For Some Mainland Homeless
  3. Read this piece in the Independent: Anchorage mayor wants to give homeless people a one-way ticket to warm climates before Alaska winter