[Hpn] "Homeless Can Not Wait Ten Years"
William Charles Tinker
Wed, 31 Aug 2005 07:57:42 -0400
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Irons offers plan for homeless
King County candidate says Sims-backed proposal would take too long
By GREGORY ROBERTS
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
SEATAC -- Republican David Irons outlined his vision for addressing
homelessness Tuesday, venturing into what might seem an area of strength for
his political opponent, Democratic King County Executive Ron Sims.
"I firmly believe our community wants to address homelessness -- and wants
to address it sooner rather than later," Irons said at a news conference.
Irons said his proposal, which emphasizes coordinated social services to
lead the homeless to self-sufficiency instead of simply building housing,
will work better, faster and more efficiently than the 10-year plan backed
by Sims. "The homeless can't wait 10 years," Irons said.
Irons, a county councilman from Sammamish, is seeking to unseat Sims in
Sims is co-chairman of the governing board of the Committee to End
Homelessness in King County, an organization that grew out of a 2000 forum
on homelessness sponsored by St. Mark's Cathedral. Over the next five years,
the committee, comprising representatives of government agencies and social
service organizations, studied the issue before producing its 10-year plan
Sims has declared the effort a priority of his administration and has
presented his strategy for carrying it out at the county government level to
the County Council. Although the plan calls for building 9,500 affordable
housing units, "It's more than just providing a roof over someone's head," a
Sims spokesman said.
Irons sought to contrast his proposal with the 10-year plan. "Just
addressing housing will not address the problem," he said.
His approach, which he did not spell out in great detail, stresses
cooperation among government and social-service agencies to tackle the root
causes of homelessness and equip the homeless with the skills they need to
successfully enter the housing market. The county executive could provide
leadership, he said.
In response to questioning, he said tools might include government-financed
vouchers distributed by community agencies to homeless people, who could use
them to supplement their own resources in renting apartments.
Irons did not put a price to his proposal, but he suggested it could be paid
for by diverting money from the 10-year plan, the cost of which has been
pegged at up to $1 billion.
Sims' co-chairman on the governing committee, Car Toys CEO Dan Brettler,
said he welcomed discussion of the issue, but he added, "I am not convinced
that having a potential competition of plans is a healthy thing.
"We feel like we have a very-high-quality blueprint for ending homelessness,
and we feel it is a daunting task that will take 10 years."
Much of what Irons proposes is consistent with the 10-year plan, Brettler
Irons acknowledged that his ideas were not completely original, citing as
one inspiration the cooperative model for reducing homelessness adopted in
"We didn't go out and build new wheels," he said.
P-I reporter Gregory Roberts can be reached at 206-448-8022 or
William Charles Tinker
New Hampshire Homeless / Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.