Everett, Washington Citizens And Politicians Agree On Need For Proper Shelter, In Proper Place, With A Proper Plan

April 12, 2023

Everett Government


The Hope Church is under consideration for use as an emergency shelter for 40 people. Meanwhile the former Days Inn, purchased last August by Snohomish County with more than 70 rooms, sits empty with no clear timeline for when it may open as a shelter.

At the City Council meeting in Everett, Washington Wednesday night there appeared to be agreement from the public, Mayor and City Councilmembers that there is a need for shelters to help those experiencing homelessness. There are also major issues with the process as it has played out multiple times in Everett. The question seems to be how to strike a balance for the need to have shelters that provide services in an effective way while keeping neighbors and businesses near them from being adversely affected.

Here is a statement Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin gave tonight at the City Council meeting addressing Snohomish County’s potential purchase of the Hope Covenant Church property.

“I would like to take a moment and address the County’s potential purchase of the Hope Covenant Church property and our shared commitment to providing shelter and services to unsheltered individuals in crisis.

First, I want to make it clear that our city is fiercely pro-housing, and this includes being in support of increasing the availability of shelter not just within our city, but throughout our county and within the region.

You just need to walk outside to know we are facing a housing and drug crisis. I know my colleagues on this dais recognize this as well as our partners at the County.

And while I am in favor of providing support to those who need it, i know t’s equally important for there to be accountability and enforcement, especially when it comes to those who are engaging in illegal conduct. Again, I know others on this dais and partners across the County also agree that there must be accountability.

And I truly believe that with the processes in place within our planning department, new ordinances under consideration that ensure appropriate accountability measures, and all the diligent, hard work of our Snohomish County partners and City staff, we will be able to establish an additional successful shelter location SOMEWHERE within our city. But, siting shelter locations is HARD.

I know that there is a lot of confusion regarding Snohomish County’s potential purchase of Hope Covenant Church and on behalf of the City, I want to apologize to our residents and our partners for any confusion around this.

I’ve seen many emails from very passionate residents and businesses sharing their concerns about locating a facility like this near where they live or work, and I understand their apprehension. And we know and continue to hear from advocates about the positive impact a site like this can have for some of the most vulnerable members of our community when done well.

I’ve connected with my team and Executive Somers on this project. Currently we do not know if this or another location would be most suitable, but in order to find that out, I support moving forward with engagement and information gathering process about the Hope Church site as a potential location for a shelter within our city.

As I shared in my email to the County in mid-February, a quality, successful shelter location needs first intensive community outreach as well as a management plan including security, safety and sanitation.

I have directed my team to partner with the County staff, including additional outreach, listening to and engaging with potential neighbors of such a facility, addressing concerns and ensuring the development of a shelter management plan which will help ensure any potential impacts to the community are appropriately mitigated. We will have more to share on this soon.

In addition, we need tools to help us address the very complex and serious challenges our community is facing. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing two ordinances. One, about establishing service facility buffer zones and the other is about public use of controlled substances.

I believe these new tools can make a difference in both keeping our neighborhoods safe and trying to connect those struggling with addiction to treatment. These tools will not just support any future location, but also ensure better safety for current locations within the city for both those seeking shelter and services as well as neighbors in close proximity of such programs.

There is a lot of work ahead to address the challenges in our city, region and country and we are committed to doing that work collaboratively with neighbors, non-profits, our County and community. Thank you.”

Following the Mayor’s statement citizens spoke up about their opposition to the site and asked why this new site was being considered while the former Days Inn Motel on Everett Mall Way purchased last August sits empty.

Everett City Council members thanked citizens who weighed in with emails and comments with multiple members of the Everett City Council stressing the need to “get it right”. You can see the Mayor’s statement, citizen comments and City councilmember’s comments in the video below. Those comments run about 35 minutes.

The rest of the video is the remainder of the Everett City Council meeting where concerns were expressed over the use of Angel of the Winds Arena to host gun shows, an agreement to accept more than four million dollars in opioid settlement money was approved and a briefing on possibly making a change to City of Everett code to make it illegal to use controlled substances in public. On that last item, the Everett City Council may see a draft ordinance next week.

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