Snohomish County is planning to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase its first hotel to be converted into “time-limited, bridge housing” for those who are homeless.
The Days Inn facility in Everett will provide 74 new units to those individuals living without shelter, the county said in a Monday press release.
As of the end of 2021, Snohomish County has 646 year-round shelter beds. Last week, Snohomish County announced the Shelter & Behavioral Health Partnership Program, which will add new units to house an estimated 36 individuals, among many other housing and behavioral health projects including programs in Edmonds and Lynnwood. Investments from the partnership program and Days Inn hotel purchase will create 110 spaces in 2022 alone, representing a 17% increase in Snohomish County’s system capacity, the news release said.
“With these one-time federal funds, we have an opportunity to make transformational investments in our housing system,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “By increasing our bridge housing capacity, we can provide safer places for vulnerable residents, create stability to support communities’ overall health and wellbeing, and make Snohomish County an even better place to live, work, and play – for everyone.
“We have heard the community loud and clear: Now is the time to make substantial, creative investments to increase housing supply across our county,” Somers added.
“This investment in our most vulnerable residents is vital in creating long-term solutions and sustainability for a safe, healthy, and thriving community for all,” said Snohomish County Council Vice Chair Jared Mead, who represents the cities of Mountlake Terrace and Brier in District 4.
“Housing with onsite services will be a strong base of support for those individuals working to build a better life for themselves and their families,” said Councilmember Stephanie Wright, who serves residents of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Woodway through District 3. “This project will increase public safety, while reducing many of the dangers and roadblocks experienced by our most vulnerable populations.”
The facility will serve unsheltered adults in Snohomish County. In addition to time-limited bridge housing, individuals will have access to food, hygiene, employment services, legal services, and mental health and substance use disorder services. The facility will also have 24/7 on-site staffing and services.
Increasing shelter and housing capacity was identified as a consistent community priority throughout the Office of Recovery & Resilience’s (ORR) pandemic recovery outreach efforts, and increasing bridge housing specifically was a top-voted issue at three of the five in-district Recovery Roadshows, including the District 2 Recovery Roadshow in Everett.
Executive Somers has forwarded the purchase agreement for the Days Inn facility to the Snohomish County Council for consideration. The county council will consider the proposal – and take public comment – on Aug. 17. The County intends to purchase additional properties in the coming weeks, with Council approval. In addition, Snohomish County will conduct community outreach to ensure residents and organizations can learn more about the program, provide input on implementation, and ask questions.
The Days Inn facility has received motel voucher referrals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last year, the Ccounty estimates that 120 individuals have been provided emergency shelter at this location. By purchasing the facility, the county will add new services including 24/7 on-site staffing, wraparound services, and increased navigation to any needed off-site services.
More information on the county’s pandemic recovery work can be found at www.snohomishcountywa.gov/recovery.