Outreach – Nudge – Push To Bring Change In Area North of Everett Gospel Mission

3600 Smith

While outreach goes on this week, “nudge” and “push” begin next week for people camping under this overpass.

At the Wednesday Everett City Council Meeting Sylvia Anderson, CEO of the Everett Gospel Mission told the council about efforts to clean up the area north of the mission using an “outreach”, “nudge” and “push” tactic in dealing with the group of people who have been staying under the overpass. She mentioned the success in having nearly two-dozen people being able to get off the street this week and into temporary housing. Here’s a further explanation from Meghan Pembroke at the City of Everett in response to an inquiry by MyEverettNews.com about the effort as it transitions from outreach to nudge and push.

This is an issue that the City has been working on in conjunction with the Mission and a number of other service providers. As background, Everett Police Department has been doing additional patrols and monitoring of the area since late 2014, in response to concerns expressed by businesses in the area. Over a 3-month period, EPD made hundreds of contacts and arrested or cited close to 60 people. They’ve also worked very hard to connect people with services to help get them off the street. However, we’ve continued to see the area under the overpass being used for camping and as a trash dump, and in recent weeks we’ve seen even more aggressive and destructive behavior, including drug dealing, graffiti and assaults. As Sylvia mentioned at the council meeting, the Mission also contacted us a few weeks ago to express their concerns about the growing problem.

Smith street 2

The bridge is just one area in Everett being looked at by the various agencies.

Through the relationships that developed as part of the Streets Initiative task force, EPD and the Mission pulled together eight service providers to be a part of intensive outreach to people using the underpass for shelter. The group included local organizations like Cocoon House, Evergreen Manor and Compass Mental Health, and Pioneer Human Services out of Skagit County. As Sylvia alluded to yesterday, this was really an unprecedented effort and collaboration among these agencies that was achieved in a short period of time. Chief Templeman said the effort represented a novel approach by the police department and a remarkable level of involvement and cooperation among the different organizations. This week’s intensive outreach has been very successful, with a number of people choosing to take advantage of services.

Next week, the City will make some changes to the area as the second phase of our efforts to address the ongoing issues. We will upgrade lighting under the overpass and install fencing under the overpass on Smith Avenue to make the area less attractive for illegal activity and to make it easier for our officers to monitor activity in the area. We will also continue to take enforcement action against criminal activity, such as vandalism, drug dealing and assaults.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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