Neighbors criticize Everett homeless housing project

Neighbors in Everett's Pinehurst-Beverly Park community oppose the city's plan to build a 70-unit supportive housing facility for the homeless.

EVERETT, Wash. -- Red signs featuring the word "No" already line the entrance to a vacant city lot in a south Everett neighborhood.

Many in the Pinehurst-Beverly Park community are against the city's plan to build a 70-unit supportive housing facility there to help the area's homeless.

Part of the city's Housing First plan, the project, operated by Catholic Community Services, would provide stable housing for screened homeless residents, while also giving greater access to needed assistance.

"It really assists folks that have struggled in maintaining their housing with the skills to prevent evictions," said Will Rice with Catholic Community Services Northwest. "The need is profound."

The most recent Point in Time count found 114 chronically homeless persons in Everett.  The city has a 2 percent vacancy rate, making it hard for low or no income residents to find a place to live, advocates said.

"This is an approach that says, we're going to provide housing and now that you're housed, be more able to provide more adequate services that can be provided in the community," said Rice.

But neighbors are fearful of the unknown.  Some have moved out in anticipation of the $16 million project.

"We don't think this is the kind of thing we want in our neighborhood," said Oden Olson, a nearby homeowner and Everett firefighter, "I don't want them sleeping in my yard.  I don't want them breaking into my neighbors' homes."

The city considered up to 40 sites for the project.

"We can see that when these folks are put into a community and it's operated well, they do not negatively impact property values," said Hil Kaman with the City of Everett.

Supporters plan to break ground in a year, and open the facility in 2019.

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Copyright 2016 KING


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