Bryant Continues Focus on Homelessness

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jason Roe (202) 374-2424

Bryant Continues Focus on Homelessness
Bryant to work in homeless shelter tonight
Inslee silent on debate on homelessness and mental health issues

(Seattle, Wash.) – Gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant continues his focus on homelessness this week by meeting with people helping the homeless and listening to those affected by this increasing problem.   Since Governor Inslee took office four years ago, homelessness has increased 42 percent in King County alone.

This week, Bryant toured the Chinatown ID and encampments in SODO, including the Jungle, and spoke with business owners who are grappling with increased garbage, property crimes, fires and drug abuse in their neighborhoods.  “Employees told me they are scared to walk to their cars after dark,” said Bryant.  “Customers don’t want to come where there’s garbage, human waste and needles.  People want to be compassionate, but they want to feel safe.”  Drug abuse and Washington’s collapsing mental health system have contributed to the explosion of people living on the streets.”

Tonight, Bryant, who for two years before running for office volunteered as a part-time night manager at a shelter for homeless men, will volunteer in a Seattle homeless shelter.  Tomorrow morning in Puyallup, he will tour non-profits focused on homelessness, and meet with officials including Police Chief Ryan Jeter, New Hope Resource Center Director Paula Anderson, as well as homeless individuals.

“Governor Inslee has demonstrated indifference or incompetence by believing spending more money will solve this problem. He is wrong,” said Bryant. “Solving this problem requires coordinating state dollars to help the truly homeless pull their lives together by providing them the support, care and transitional shelter they need.   Solving the problem of people living in tents on public land requires admitting that many of those people are shelter-averse, drug addicted and sometimes criminal.  They are different populations with different needs and require different solutions.”

“If the governor really wants to understand this problem, let him join me for a tour of Chinatown ID and SODO and then join me in The Jungle for a debate on homelessness and mental health,” continued Bryant.

Earlier this week, Bryant sent a letter to Governor Inslee asking for a debate focused on homelessness and mental health.  In the letter, Bryant said, “Too many of Washington’s most vulnerable citizens have been relegated to the margins of our society.  I look forward to discussing how we both intend to treat these people with the dignity they deserve and ensure they receive the services they need.”

Inslee still has not responded to the invitation.

Washington state ranks 47th in the nation in quality of mental health and 50th in mental care for adults


Matthew Donnellan