Everett Council to decide this week whether
housing to assist homeless people should
mix with residential neighborhoods
EVERETT — On Jan. 29, the City Council is expected to vote conclusively on whether or not supportive housing projects for homeless individuals should be allowed to locate in single-family neighborhoods.
In December, the council voted 5-1 to tentatively allow supportive housing in single-family neighborhoods, but with restrictions on building appearance so it matches the neighborhood.
The language in front of the council asks for the opposite, regulating supportive homeless-housing projects to areas already zoned for multi-family buildings.
The change would affect one project: Nonprofit organization Housing Hope has plans for a two-story apartment building in the Port Gardner Neighborhood that would house homeless families with students in Everett’s public schools. It would go on an unused plot at 36th Street and Norton Avenue that the Everett School District owns.
Last week, Housing Hope CEO Fred Safstrom told the council that he’d like “this ordinance to be separated from (our) property” and have the city consider each project one by one.
The nonprofit applied to upzone the site last fall, but later withdrew to do more coordination work with neighbors. Housing Hope formed a neighborhood workgroup to discuss the project. It meets at Sequoia High School.
Everett’s planning code already prohibits all other apartment complexes from single-family zones. The archetype for single-family zoning has streets lined with houses. Supportive housing didn’t face the same exclusion in 2016 when the city added it to the code; the city embraces it as a type of permanent housing to reduce homelessness.
The topic erupted in June after neighborhood opposition over the project. In response, the City Council set a six-month emergency moratorium to evaluate whether supportive housing projects belong in single-family neighborhoods.
Some opponents to making restrictions say that creating any barrier robs from the city’s larger-picture plan to foster more supportive housing for homeless individuals. City Councilwoman Liz Vogeli has taken this stand at prior meetings.
The city contains one supportive housing complex called Clare’s Place. It is in central Everett and run by a housing arm of Catholic Community Services.
Supportive housing, by its intent, is a type of housing to give people who are homeless a place to live while providing social services assistance and case management for the residents.
The City Council meets at 3002 Wetmore Ave. on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., except the fourth Wednesday of the month when a daytime meeting is held at 12:30 p.m.
Public comments for topics on the agenda are usually taken when the topic becomes the discussion item. General public comment is accepted near the start of the meeting.
The Wednesday, Jan. 29 meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
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