Everett Mayor Calls Out WSDOT For Bringing Unhoused People From Outside Everett And Putting Them In Motels Here

November 4, 2022


Editor’s Update 3:10 PM, In response to our inquiry MyEverettNews.com received the following statement from Kris Rietmann Abrudan, Communications Director with the Washington State Department of Transportation:

Thanks for reaching out. WSDOT has this statement to share for today:

WSDOT is in receipt of the letter from the City of Everett and Snohomish County and is coordinating a formal response. In the meantime, it is important to clarify that three people living homeless on WSDOT right of way within Everett were placed into housing in Everett thus far. That worked happened in collaboration with Helping Hands (a service provider contracted with the Washington State Department of Commerce as part of the state right of way safety initiative), City of Everett police and the city‘s homeless response coordinator.

WSDOT is happy to have further conversations with the city and county to clarify further misinformation.

Editor’s Update 10:07 AM: After seeing Mayor Franklin’s Facebook post this morning we reached out to the City of Everett with some questions. We received the following from the Manager of Communications and Marketing, Julio Cortes. We are also reaching out to WSDOT.

The City of Everett and Snohomish County have been regional leaders in efforts to address the crisis of homelessness that our community is experiencing and remains strongly committed to increasing the number of sheltering options and providing services to those experiencing homelessness. But central to this effort is the need to communicate and collaborate to ensure that proper safeguards and protocols are in place. This will not only provide these individuals with the best opportunity for success but will also mitigate any negative secondary impacts such shelter efforts can have on local neighborhoods and businesses. It is also vital that Everett does not become a dumping ground for people from other parts of the state.

Here are the questions I asked the City and the response received: LD

1). The Mayor used the term large number of the unsheltered population – How many are we talking about and over what period of time?
The information we received said 50 individuals, I don’t have information about the period of time.

2). What is the name of the nonprofit service provider and are they based in Everett?
Helping Hands

3) Is this provider also contracting with the City of Everett for similar services?
The City does have a relationship with this and other non-profits to ensure we support work to get folks off the streets and housed. We were surprised that we weren’t brought to the table for this program, the City did not know this was happening until yesterday.

4). What was the answer received thus far from WSDOT?
We have not heard from WSDOT yet.

5). Who specifically did the Mayor reach out to at WSDOT?
To Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar.

We’ll try to get more information but the following was posted on the Facebook Page for Cassie Franklin, Mayor of Everett, Washington Friday morning.

Mayor Cassie Franklin, Photo credit City of Everett.

Yesterday I learned that the Washington State Department of Transportation—as part of Washington’s Right of Way Safety Initiative, and in partnership with a local nonprofit service provider—is placing a large number of the unsheltered population, many of which currently reside outside the city of Everett, in motels located throughout Everett. This is an unacceptable burden for our city to bear. I have always supported—and continue to support—initiatives to create more shelter options. I have even developed and expanded teams specifically dedicated to this effort. However, Everett is undertaking way too much responsibility for the homelessness crisis facing our region.

Navigating the expanding homeless crisis is extremely complex and requires open communication, strategic partnerships and deliberate planning. Without proper engagement, our residents and businesses are negatively impacted by the results of placing members of our unsheltered population directly into motel rooms without adequate service plans or consideration of quality of life for the surrounding neighborhoods.

After learning this information second hand, my staff reached out to WSDOT and the contracted service provider. I urged WSDOT to immediately discontinue the placement of unhoused community members in Everett motels. We must be at the table on this important issue; however, this problem is larger than Everett, and Everett will not continue taking on homeless populations from surrounding areas. Everett has a long history of working collaboratively with WSDOT and our service provider community, and I invite them to the table so we can move forward in a coordinated effort that benefits our entire region.

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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.

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