• King County offering the homeless one-way tickets back home

    By: Deborah Horne

    Updated:

    KING COUNTY, Wash. - There is a plan to bus the homeless out of King County with a one-way ticket coming out of taxpayers' pockets.

    King County will set aside $100,000 to buy train or bus tickets for any homeless person who wants one. The only rule is they can't come back.

    Last year, nearly 60 homeless people got a one-way ticket home.  Now King County wants to extend that offer to a lot more people who are homeless here.

    The belief has persisted that many of the homeless here are from someplace else.

    "People are coming from all over the world to Seattle," said Maurice LaVon Jones.

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    He is homeless and shares that view.

    "Because they Google Seattle, specifically because we are the next New York City, Beijing and Hong Kong," said Jones.

    Now King County councilmember Reagan Dunn wants to give more of them a way back home.

    "[The] Homeward Bound program," he said, is "a program to provide one-way transportation for folks in the homeless community."

    The King County Council agreed to triple its budget for the program and call it by a new name, Homeward Bound.

    "What we saw in our one-night count recently, of the 11,000 homeless people on the streets of the Seattle area, 1,000 of them, about nine percent. said family reunifications would help them get into permanent housing," said Dunn. "We're answering that call."

    "I don't mind anything wrong with it," said one homeless woman who did not want to be identified. "If they got a place to stay, why not?"

    "I love this state and all that, so I ain't moving," said Oscar Sanchez, homeless for a year. "Not yet."

    Critics say the program is a way to kick the homeless out of King County. Dunn says that isn't its intent.

    "No, this is about family reunification," he insists. "This is one small strategy in many designed for people who want it.
     

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