Approve an LGBTQ+ homeless shelter opening in Spokane

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Spokane needs to prioritize housing for LGBTQ+ youth by establishing a shelter specifically for them. An important issue that has continued to surface lately in the Spokane area is a lack of housing for the cities growing the homeless population. Homeless LGBTQ youth who are estimated to make up to as much as 40 percent of the overall homeless-youth population arguably are among the most vulnerable citizens of Spokane, with an increased risk of suicide, sexual assault, physical/mental abuse, and human trafficking. These young people deserve a safe space to live where they will be treated with compassion and respect. Opponents argue that improving access for queer youth to shelters would be expensive and time-consuming, however, it can also be argued, homelessness has its own monetary and social costs associated with it. Improved access to housing would help the entire community by steering LGBTQ youth away from disruptive illegal activities and encourage them to graduate and become contributing members of the community. According to Jonathan Mallahan, Community and Neighborhood Services Division director for the city of Spokane, the city has permanently added $500,000 to annual shelter funding and has instituted an analytical program to identify the homeless that are most in need of shelter to guide housing decisions. It's imperative that the needs of LGBTQ youth be explicitly identified in this study. In sum, the most vulnerable in our homeless population need to be the cities number one priority.
Although these accommodations may be costly, and it would take a great deal of lobbying to get the support to put these laws into place, Spokane should care more about the safety of all its civilians over the amount of money and political clout needed to support this cause. For example, some may argue that its unethical to ask taxpayers to forfeit more of their own earnings to fund the building of additional shelters, however, Governor Inslee just put forward an initiative to use tax payer's money to pay for postage on Mail-in ballots in attempt to increase voter turnout in support of a stronger democracy. So, like paying for postage, these shelters would be costly to build but in the long run, they would pay off in an improved society. In a recent study conducted by the University of New Mexico's Institute for Social Research, they showed that it costs less to house chronically homeless people than to leave them on the streets. Overall during the two-to-three-year study period participants that were housed cost about 1 million less than before entering the program a roughly 15% cost savings per person in money saved. This issue is important because a society is measured on how well it treats its most vulnerable. LBGTQ+ youth must be given the support and compassion to rise above their circumstances and become happy and productive members of society.

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