Frustration Marks Everett Low Barrier Housing Meeting

October 4, 2016

Everett, Everett Government


The Mayor made some brief welcoming remarks but didn’t stay to hear from the audience.


About a hundred people were in attendance.


Multiple locations around Everett were considered and rejected


There were many passionate pleas for the city to reconsider the location.


Police Chief Dan Templeman tells the crowd the city can’t arrest its way out of the problem.

Frustration was the most common emotion at tonight’s meeting on low barrier housing.

Around a hundred people filled the cafeteria at Evergreen Middle School to hear representatives from the City of Everett and Catholic Community Services talk about the facility planned for Berkshire and Evergreen Way in central Everett.

Containing 10 studios and 60 one bedroom units, the secure facility will house people selected from not just Everett but throughout Snohomish County.

People who are experiencing homelessness, considered most vulnerable and who cost the most in public safety, healthcare and social service dollars would be housed in the facility which is billed as secure and with service providers on location.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson spoke briefly at the beginning of the meeting talking about how 12 years ago the homeless issue wasn’t even on his radar but that over the past three years he’s made a 180 degree turn.

“The overriding issue is poverty,” Stephanson said. “All of you need to get the facts on low barrier housing.”

Shortly after that the Mayor left the meeting without announcement. That led to frustration from many in attendance.

A city spokesperson told that the Mayor had a prior commitment scheduled long in advance and had only planned to give welcoming remarks.

Hil Kaman, director of public health and safety for Everett showed a video and made a brief presentation on the need for low barrier housing summing it up as follows, “If a person does not have a safe place to go at the end of the day all of the other pieces (help and assistance) won’t work.”

He then went on to highlight the search of Everett for a location for the first low barrier housing project and stated that the city had looked at between 30 – 40 locations before deciding on the Berkshire Drive property. At that point many in the crowd interrupted, expressing frustration that they weren’t told of the potential use for that property ahead of time. Kaman told them that no matter where in the city it would be placed there would be individuals who wouldn’t want it in their neighborhood.

At times the meeting got loud with people interrupting presenters and each other. There were calls for an advisory vote, or for the facility to be build at the site of the now defunct courthouse project at Wall and Rockefeller.

At one point someone shouted, “This is a done deal, isn’t it?” The response…”The city is planning on this facility here.”

You could hear it in the tone of voice on both sides…Frustration.

About My Everett News Staff

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live, work, and play in Everett.

View all posts by My Everett News Staff