Hiding the Homeless

King County hides the statistics about homeless migration—until I threatened a lawsuit.

The Seattle government is deliberating concealing home many homeless have migrated into the region. Through a public records request—and threat of a lawsuit—I’ve obtained the bombshell statistic that shows 23% of King County’s homeless migrated from out of state.

This all begins with the Seattle/King County 2020 homeless survey. I noticed deep in the survey appendix the questionnaire asks the homeless where they last had stable housing. But the report *doesn’t include the results of that question.* So I filed a records request.

After I filed my records request, the county deliberately stonewalled, delayed, and flat-out denied that the data existed. So I raised the stakes and threatened to sue the King Government and the public records officer for “obstructing a legal records request.”

Finally, they relented and released the bombshell statistic: at least 23% of King County’s homeless migrated to the region after becoming homeless *in another state.* The magnet effect is real, profound, and devastating to the premises of progressive policies.

Here’s the shocking part: Seattle’s political class deliberately hid this statistics from the public because it violates its preferred political narrative. Seattle’s policies have drawn more than 2,700 homeless from out of state—and they buried the truth.

Christopher F. Rufo is a writer, filmmaker, and senior fellow of Manhattan Institute. He has directed four documentaries for PBS and is currently a contributing editor of City Journal, where he covers critical race theory, homelessness, addiction, crime, and other afflictions.

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