Cities in Washington state overwhelmingly deal with their homeless populations by criminalizing aspects of their daily lives, but it comes at a cost, while housing the homeless would bring significant savings, according to a new report from the Seattle University School of Law.
The researchers looked at municipal codes in 72 cities across the state. Since 2000, the number of ordinances aimed at the homeless rose by 50 percent, with cities finding 288 new ways to target them. “This fourteen year span has already eclipsed the previous forty-five years’ total enactment numbers, and the numbers are continuing to rise,” the report notes. The number of ordinances rose from just 31 in the 1970s to more than 100 in the last four years.