Clean and Sober Housing Residents Address Everett City Council

August 17, 2016

Everett, Everett Government

Clean and Sober Housing residents came out in force during the public comment portion of tonight’s Everett City Council meeting to show support for their homes. Drug addicts, alcoholics, sex offenders and felons don’t often stand up in front of a public meeting to talk about their lives but tonight nearly two dozen did just that.

clean and sober

Michael Westford owns several clean and sober properties in Everett.

“Theory doesn’t apply here, it’s practice.” said Michael Westford. “We take people who fall through the cracks.” Westford and his wife own several properties in Everett and for years have provided housing for sex offenders and those in recovery. He told the city council that talk of more restrictions on the houses he operates is causing concern among his residents. “Picking on clean and sober housing is absurd,” Westford added. He said he was there after a recent newspaper article highlighted changes the City of Everett was considering that would reduce the number of unrelated adults with disabilities living under a single roof.

Some of the other comments from those that spoke included…

“Bad apples should not spoil clean and sober housing.”

“Without transitional housing I’d be back in prison.”

“I have mental issues, this is my home, my family…Please don’t take our home away”

“They took me in and gave me hope, we’re fighting for our lives right now, don’t take it away.”

“We’re at the bottom of the list, I’m a sex offender, I’m not proud of it.” “Westford took us in, they accepted us. Close my house and 14 people are on the street.”

The Mayor and city council members listened intently to the various speakers. After they were finished Mayor Stephanson addressed the crowd. “I want to thank all of the individuals who have come forward, you’re an inspiration,” said Stephanson. “Our sole motivation is to try and make sure you have a safe environment in which to live.”

Operators of clean and sober houses expressed concerns to that City of Everett officials would not work with them, didn’t want them and had code enforcement, police and firefighters doing warrant-less searches for violations while at their properties.

Tonight Mayor Stephanson asked the operators to meet with Hil Kaman the city’s new director of Public Health and Safety. “You have my pledge that we are willing to work with you,” Stephanson said. Several operators were seen talking with Kaman after the public comment period.

Clean and Sober housing is just one arm of what seems to be an 18 arm octopus when it comes to dealing with homelessness issues in Everett, Washington.

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