By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
Compass Health is seeking donations to help 38 people displaced by a two-alarm fire this week that caused an estimated $350,000 damage to its Northstar apartment building in Everett.
The building, in the 3300 block of Oakes Ave., opened about 15 years ago to provide housing to people diagnosed with mental health problems, such as severe depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
“We have 38 displaced clients and a mess of a building,” said Tom Sebastian, Compass’ chief executive. “There’s fire damage, smoke damage and water damage.”
Residents were unable to recover personal items from their apartments because of the smoke and fire damage, he said.
Compass Health, a nonprofit agency that provides mental health services in Snohomish, Skagit, San Juan and Island counties, is asking for help in finding short-term housing for clients and for monetary donations that can be used to buy clothing, bedding and other items for those displaced by the fire.
The Snohomish County Chapter of the American Red Cross provided temporary housing at an Everett church to some of the clients, he said.
However, repairs to Compass’ apartment building could take up to six months to complete.
Some area apartment owners have offered to house clients for a month or two, he said.
“We’re trying to get secure, permanent housing” for about 30 clients, Sebastian said. Some of the people displaced by the fire can be housed at other apartment buildings operated by Compass Health.
Compass staff was scrambling Friday to organize assistance for the people who had lost their housing and personal belongings.
“We don’t have a fund to immediately assist these individuals. That’s really our No. 1 priority,” Sebastian said.
The men and women are living on minimum incomes, primarily relying on Social Security disability payments, he said.
And although the apartment building was insured, “we expect we’ll need additional support from the community for the long-term repair of the building,” he added.
Sharon Salyer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-339-3496
Ways to help
Donations can be made at any Union Bank, formerly Frontier Bank, with a notation that it is for Compass Health’s apartment fire relief fund.
For information on donating non-cash items, such as gift cards to help clients buy clothing, food, blankets and other items damaged in the fire, call Rochelle Clogston at Compass Health at 425-349-7231.