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Planned shelter at Hope Church Everett site dead



EVERETT —
The county won't be buying Hope Covenant Church on Rucker Avenue to turn into a homeless shelter site in central Everett.
The idea was to relocate 40 shelter beds from downtown to the church property.
Instead, the county said it aims to continue shelter services for upwards of six more months at the current site, United Church of Christ (UCC), 2624 Rockefeller Ave. downtown, and is offering the city money to find a replacement homeless shelter site.
The county intended to spend $4 million cash to buy the Hope Church property. This $4 million is now being offered to the city as grant funding for a homeless shelter solution.
County administrators wrote an April 24 memo to Mayor Cassie Franklin and other city officials that "since the city is best positioned to secure a shelter site within its jurisdiction, we believe this will both expedite shelter acquisition and is more in line with how we work with other cities and towns in Snohomish County."
The city hasn't given its formal reply to these suggestions, city spokeswoman Simone Tarver said April 27.
The UCC site opened as a 24/7 emergency winter shelter in November 2020. Tarver said it was not meant to be permanent. During the Hope Church talks, county officials said the city asked for the 40 beds to be relocated.
The Hope Church property at 4502 Rucker Ave. is no longer available to buy, county administrators wrote.
The county's preliminary paperwork on its interest in buying the church expired April 11 and was not renewed. The deal never advanced to a formal purchase offer.
Hope Church's lead pastor wrote a letter to the congregation April 20 that church leadership "feels it’s within our best interests to pursue other buyers/investors/developers at this time" and would share when one appears.  
The church property had interest in the buyer's market earlier this year, the pastor wrote, but county was the only one interested enough to propose a purchase. It did so in January with exploratory and non-binding memorandum of understanding to buy the church.
Hostility during the meetings in early April prompted the county to quickly retract from the plan to go back to the city to ask what to do.
The city has not given an opinion about continuing services at UCC, county spokesman Kent Patton said.
There wouldn't need to be a permit to have the shelter at UCC, Tarver said.
The county contracts with Everett Gospel Mission to assist with the 40-bed shelter operations.
If services do not continue at UCC then for now the alternate appears to be to have less beds.
"We believe turning 40 vulnerable people onto the streets of the city is neither compassionate nor good for public safety," the county's memo said.

  

 


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