Tribune Logo
facebook Logo Come see us on Facebook







Affordable housing sparsity in Everett leaves many priced out

EVERETT — Increasing home prices in Everett are leaving some priced out.
Chris Collier, the program manager at the Alliance for Housing Affordability (AHA) in Everett, presented at the Aug. 15 Planning Commission meeting about the current state of housing affordability in Everett.
The AHA is an interlocal agreement between 15 cities, one county and one housing authority (Housing Authority of Snohomish County or HASCO). Their goal is to support members and communities in understanding and responding to the housing affordability crisis. 
Collier punctuated the housing crisis in Everett. A single-family home costs $575,000 with a required income of 135,037. The area median income (AMI) for a family of two in Central Puget Sound is $80,750. This results in many families not being able to afford homes. 
After accounting for inflation, single-family homes are 86% more expensive today than in 2000. A large discrepancy that is leaving incomes behind.
In 2021, 76,131 households’ income, in Snohomish County, put them below the definition of “Very Low Income” according to Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This means a household of three only brought in about $52,100 a year. These households qualified for most kinds of housing assistance from local housing authorities.
About 8% of households were housed by HASCO, 5% by Everett Housing Authority (EHA), and 14% by other income-restricted housing. That left 73% of qualified households un-assisted. 
These remaining households live paycheck to paycheck, trying to pay rent each month or even experiencing homelessness.
Collier believes rent and sale price growth must slow down to allow incomes to catch up. Currently, prices are growing faster than incomes, leading to fewer people being able to afford homes.
House Bill 1220 requires cities to be more active in allowing housing for all economic segments of the population, look for and undo racially disparate impacts of land use policy, and work to stop displacement; as defined by Collier. The Bill clarifies that 20,000 market-rate units are needed by 2044, so there is less market scarcity.
Collier encourages advocating for affordable housing because it allows citizens to save costs in social benefits. In addition, developing more homes will bring down current residents’ property taxes and work to curb inflation driven by the rising cost of living. The goal is to make housing more affordable for everyone in the county so people can lead better lives. 
Mayor Cassie Franklin addresses the housing crisis through her housing directive, where she outlines initiatives to increase affordable housing and sustain options for shelters and resources for those who need it. 
In addition, Everett also has the Re-think Housing Action Plan, a multi-year effort to develop a community-wide housing action plan that will include strategies for addressing the housing needs of current and future Everett residents. 
Jennifer Bereskin-SeaMonster is an enrolled member of the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska and Snohomish. She lived primarily in Seattle until becoming homeless at the age of 10, afterward, the majority of her time spent experiencing housing instability was in Snohomish County.
Now, at 38, she lives in a 3-bedroom apartment in the unincorporated Bothell area with her minor son. In 2016, she received a project-based housing voucher through the Pathways for Women shelter program. 
When using a housing voucher, the household pays about 30% of their gross income toward rent and the voucher covers the balance of the rent. The program was envisioned to be a form of temporary assistance to give renters time to go back to school, get job training, and generally improve their income so they no longer qualified for the program. Today, Collier states, that seldom happens, due to rents rising faster than incomes and the program steadily accumulating fixed-income households who, practically speaking, have their voucher for life.
“I used to work as a professional house cleaner and a caregiver,” Bereskin-SeaMonster said. “When my son was younger, he was diagnosed with autism. I’m a single parent, and he required a lot of intense therapies multiple times a week.”
This meant she had to choose between her child’s medical care that could ensure his ability to thrive later in life, or work two jobs to afford rent.
Around that time, Bereskin-SeaMonster was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called rheumatoid arthritis, which causes joint pain. The immune system attacks healthy tissues causing long term damage and loss of joint function in the body.
With the voucher, she can afford her rent, paying her portion through her and her son’s disability benefits and child support. But not everyone can have the support she does. 
Bereskin-SeaMonster just graduated from Northwest Indian College and is now studying for the LSAT, intending to go into Tribal Law and Criminology to advocate for tribal communities and address missing and murdered Indigenous people. 
She is also a member of the Resident Action Project and serves on the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance board of directors. She uses her experience to provide a voice to support legislative changes. 
Her goal is to give back the voucher to the next family as she works to become self-sufficient and climb out of the poverty that began six generations before her.
“If people really want to solve this housing crisis, we’re all going to have to work together,” Bereskin-SeaMonster said. “We’re trying to make sure our future generations have a place to live and thrive.”  


Video of the AHA presentation:

or see here



Check out our online publications!


SPECIAL Our longest-living
Snohomish Panthers
section was in the May 10 paper

See the written pieces of the story on the Tribune online here












Original contents copyrighted by Pacific Publishing Company, all rights reserved

Contact us:
Main phone: 360-568-4121
Mail: P.O. Box 499, Snohomish, WA, 98291
Office: 605 Second St., Suite 224, Snohomish, WA 98290

Sports · Find a newspaper rack
Letters · Classified ads directory
Blotter · Area business directory