Asks legislature fund homeless projects

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 23, 2014 

I recently learned a staggering figure: the short-term savings to our county for providing housing for each chronically homeless person is $5,000 per year. Providing good care to homeless costs about $11,000 in case management, employment services, rent subsidies, etc. But homeless folks not provided assistance cost the county $16,000 in health care, emergency room visits, jail terms, etc. Since 2008, homelessness has decreased by 30 percent. We can, and should, do even better. But the primary funding source that makes this possible is scheduled to sunset soon. Our state legislators need to protect this funding now, during this short session in Olympia. With this funding preserved, we can help more homeless individuals - this is cost effective for our county. Establishing a centrally coordinated system where results are tracked and plans adjusted based on outcome has optimized our efforts in ending homelessness. Ending homelessness is about more than savings; in the long term the increased well being of our community can only be attained from caring for each other.

Nancy Orlowski

Bellingham

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