Seattle mayor admits city’s homeless system is “broken”

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SEATTLE -- As the shooting was happening at a homeless encampment Tuesday night, Mayor Ed Murray was actually giving a prime-time speech about the homeless crisis that threatens to spiral out of control.

The mayor admitted that a lot of the blame for the huge problem lies with the city’s approach.

“Homelessness is made worse by our own broken system,” Murray admitted.  “We cannot continue to fund programs simply because they have political support even when they do not work.”

Murray said going forward he wants better accountability of the dollars spent on homeless services.

But at the same time, the mayor called on the federal government to step up with more funding.

“This is a national tragedy,” Murray said.  “It needs a national response.”

As expected, Murray responded to the recent vocal outrage from communities like Ballard and Magnolia.  Residents in those neighborhoods are up in arms with the homeless parked in RVs, who they argue are engaged in all kinds of crimes.

“I understand why some residents are upset about incidents of property crime and criminal activity,” Murray said.  “But some are also perpetuating a myth that we have ordered our police officers not to enforce existing laws.  This is untrue.”

The mayor said he is adding $7 million in one-time money to help with the problem and pledged going forward to be data-driven about how the money is spent.

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