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KING 5 poll: Homelessness a top priority for Washington voters

The results were relatively even across rural and urban areas and political ideologies, as well.

SEATTLE — Washingtonians overwhelming suggest that the solution to homelessness relies on more resources and more affordable housing.

That was the result of a KING 5 Statewide poll of 650 adults, conducted by SurveyUSA from Oct. 25 to 28, 2021. 

In the poll, 35% said more resources were needed and an additional 30% cited a need for more affordable housing. Only 10% said new leadership and 13% said more enforcement of laws.

The results were relatively even across rural and urban areas and political ideologies, as well.

>> Download KING 5's Roku and Amazon Fire apps to watch live newscasts and video on demand

Seattle Councilmember Andrew Lewis, in an interview earlier this week, acknowledged his metric for success will be "visible results." Lewis specifically is championing the JustCARE program, which relocated 31 people recently into shelters and also cleaned up the debris left behind in Seattle's Pioneer Park.  

"Parks are not for people living in them. If we can make investments in places where people can live, even if it's just an enhanced shelter for the time being, while we build towards our housing goals, that is a good use of money."

But the region is spending record amounts every year to try and solve the problem, which only exponentially grew during the course of the pandemic. The Regional Homeless Authority will spend $140 million in 2022, in the relatively new organization's attempt to house the unsheltered.

Downtown Seattle Association President Jon Scholes reiterated this week that he thinks the issue threatens the economic recovery of the downtown core and Puget Sound region. 

"We've got a historic amount of federal money coming to the city, to the county, to the state. So there is new revenue there from the Biden Administration, we should prioritize those dollars on this issue," Scholes said, adding that he's hesitant on backing any measure which would seek to create more revenue for the problem, like the JumpStart Tax approved in 2020.  

"I think what voters said in Seattle last week is they want us to be prioritizing the dollars we have on the number one issue in the city, which is chronic homelessness. Not, you know, looking for the new tax or next dollar."

Lewis added, "We're going to have 2,023 new housing units exclusively for people experiencing homelessness open by 2023. And that's a low number, we can actually probably build on that and exceed that."

RELATED: Seattle to add more than 2,000 housing units for homeless by end of 2023

RELATED: Is Seattle seeing a sharp shift in its politics?

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