Homelessness On Everett City Council Agenda Wednesday

July 28, 2020

Everett

Editor’s Update 1:30 PM: The emergency ordinance proposed by council member Vogeli covering encampments and notifications within the Everett City limits failed to get a second city council member’s support. The ordinance is tabled and the city council President asked the administration to bring further information forward on how to deal with encampments. The council did authorize the Mayor to complete an application for a grant up to a million dollars to spend on providing additional shelter for those experiencing homelessness. Many council members expressed a desire to see the shelters spread out across the County citing Everett as already having a disproportionate amount of housing and services for the population.

Council

The Everett City Council and Mayor Franklin..

Among the things on this week’s Everett City Council agenda are a pair of items that deal with homelessness in Everett, Washington. Everett City Council member Liz Vogeli is sponsoring an emergency ordinance that would suspend the requirement that a public meeting be held and 45 days notice be issued to people within 500 feet of any proposed encampments or tent cities. MyEverettNews.com reached out to Council member Vogeli regarding her proposal and received the following response by email.

I have changed the amendment to reflect what I believe I heard my colleagues saying, and I can agree with, a public informational meeting should happen previous to a permit being granted. Rather than a 45 day notice and public meeting I am asking for a 7 day notice and public meeting. I was hoping for an even faster turn around because we are, indeed, in a state of emergency and the Governor has ordered people to shelter in place, including our most vulnerable.

Yes, this emergency ordinance is in direct relation to the 3 sweeps in as many months ending in the disbursement of approximately 100 people from the Rucker property.

I want people to know that permitting homeless encampments has been legal since 1989 in the city of Everett. The barriers are strict and cumbersome. No one likes the look of tents as homes but it is what we have right now. Pallet shelters are expensive and need to be produced. Tiny homes take time to build. Tents can be donated and the camp(s) will be managed with a number of rules including a code of conduct. All the city needs to do is permit them and there will be less folks trying to find shelter in peoples doorways.

There is a camp working it’s way through the permit process now. The ordinance allows for up to 100 people. This camp will have 8 tents. Hopefully Everett residents will be able to understand the desperate need to shelter in place and find that a sanctioned camp can be quite a beneficial investment for the city and not object to housing more of our neighbors while they work on getting the services they need to get stable housing. This is temporary shelter and “you are not alone.”

The second item the city council will consider is allowing the Mayor to sign a grant application that could bring between three quarters of a million dollars and one million dollars over three years to house people experiencing homelessness in Everett. Here’s a bit about the program administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce.

For the purpose of this grant, shelter facilities are defined as: Emergency Shelter Facility: a building locally permitted to provide emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Examples include: re-use of existing buildings and new buildings.

This designation requires a certificate of occupancy issued by the local jurisdiction. Temporary Shelter Site: structure(s) or location locally permitted to provide temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

Tents or “tent cities” are an example of a temporary shelter. This designation requires use approval, as required by local jurisdiction. This could be conditional or temporary use permits, or a zoning letter stating approvals required.

Hotels, motels, dormitories and efficiency dwelling units or apartments are allowable types of shelter facilities. If an emergency shelter hotel/motel voucher model is used, programs must be able to ensure access to a set number of hotel/motel beds 365 days a year.

Given the context of COVID-19, traditional models of congregate shelter services may not be appropriate. For not only this reason, sites utilizing temporary shelter structures referred to as “tiny shelters” or “tiny homes” are allowable, in addition to other models that meet minimum standards of safety and dignity.

All shelters must implement applicable COVID-19 Washington State Department of Health recommendations and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Guidance for Shared of Congregate Housing. Shelter facilities must obtain approval by the relevant local public health jurisdiction, Public Health Officer, County Medical Director or Department of Public Health Director prior to occupancy of shelter.
Eligible Costs Commerce will reimburse for new beds created on and after January 1, 2020. Commerce will reimburse up to $56 per day per net additional person sheltered above the baseline of shelter occupancy prior to the award of funding.

Eligible uses of funds include: Shelter operations including housing case management, navigation to other services, outreach related to bringing unsheltered individuals inside and efforts to address potential impacts of shelter on surrounding neighborhoods, Supporting shelter residents with move-in costs and other flexible funds are allowable costs, if those costs directly help participants exit homelessness and obtain housing.

Flexible funds will be reimbursed as part of the $56 per day reimbursement rate paid for people while in shelter. Shelter maintenance Capital improvements and construction Shelter rent and loan repayment1Examples of new beds include tents converted to tiny shelters/homes, seasonal or temporary beds converted to permanent beds or nightly drop-in beds converted to 24-hour beds.

The City Council meeting is at 12:30 PM and is held virtually. Here is how to participate.

Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus), the council meets remotely every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. except the first Wednesday of each month. The first Wednesday regular council meeting of each month begins at 6:30 p.m.

Due to Governors “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order the public is unable to attend meetings in person, but may call in to 425-616-3920, conference ID 724 887 726# to listen to the meetings live. Please email all comments to council@everettwa.gov. Meetings may be viewed on Everett TV on the city’s website.

About myeverettnews

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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