Whispering Pines Apartments complex which is slated to be demolished in October but must be vacated on Aug. 31. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Whispering Pines Apartments complex which is slated to be demolished in October but must be vacated on Aug. 31. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

$100K to help Whispering Pines tenants, but how?

It’s unclear who’s getting help, despite a possibly game-changing grant to relocate Lynnwood residents.

LYNNWOOD — In 10 days, Whispering Pines is shutting down. As of Friday, however, no one had a clear plan for helping people move out of the roughly 50 low-income apartments that were still occupied.

“This is really frustrating, tragic, embarrassing, the way that this has been handled,” said state Rep. Lauren Davis, who helped secure $100,000 this month for the Housing Authority of Snohomish County to move residents.

In the past few weeks, the county set aside federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan to help residents with expenses related to moving, county Councilmember Jared Mead said. Whispering Pines is slated for demolition in October. Residents must leave by the end of August.

On Thursday morning, however, housing authority Executive Director Duane Leonard lacked many details about how the financial assistance was being administered.

The agency isn’t tracking if tenants who leave have found other housing. It also didn’t appear that the housing authority had told most of the residents how it can help them financially.

Leonard said the county’s housing authority is providing financial assistance to help the remaining residents move but would not specify which expenses the agency will cover.

“Everybody’s situation is a little different,” Leonard said. “I’m not actually the one on the site, so I’m just passing through information that I’ve been given.”

Leonard said the agency’s director of asset management, Steve Kehler, is overseeing the relocation. Kehler declined to comment.

In an email, Housing Authority of Snohomish County spokesperson Pam Townsend told The Daily Herald that the agency would provide $2,000 lump-sum payments to remaining tenants that needed assistance for “anything they may need to move (Moving truck, deposit on their new place, screening, etc.).”

The agency did not respond to a question about how and when the county housing authority provided that information to residents.

“We started gathering the information early this week and funds will be available this Friday,” Townsend said in an email.

Davis, a Shoreline Democrat who helped secure the $100,000 to relocate the residents, said Thursday that the housing authority’s executive director told her only eight tenants were still living at the complex.

“This is brand new information and completely incongruent with the previous information I was told,” Davis said, when told about 50 units were still occupied.

Less than an hour later, Davis called a Herald reporter again and said she had questions about the agency’s use of funding. Davis also questioned “what I would call an arbitrary cap of funding” per household.

“It changes a lot of things,” Davis said. “… Likely the $100,000 will be inadequate.”

Davis said she would meet with the agency Monday to discuss its plan to move people.

“Just because someone has given notice, doesn’t mean they have everything they need to move successfully,” Davis said.

Mary Jane Brell Vujovic, Snohomish County Human Services Department director, said the grant will assist in moving up to 40 remaining households with moving costs.

According to the latest estimate, there are closer to 50 households left.

Katie Hayes: katie.hayes@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @misskatiehayes.

Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Everett man dies after being hit by car in Island County

Jacob Weigert was running across State Route 20 toward a bus stop when he was hit Wednesday morning.

Lynnwood police shoot at man during pursuit

The man is wanted on multiple warrants, including one for attempted murder, according to police. No one was hurt.

The “Village of Hope,” a tiny home community including 17 shelters, is set to open on Mission Hill Road in Tulalip in September. (Tulalip Tribes)
Tulalip Tribes to open tiny home village with 17 shelters

It’s called the Village of Hope. Monthly culture nights will feature classes in Lushootseed and “Tulalip cooking.”

Man shot at Everett apartment

The man in his 30s was shot Sunday night. No arrests had been made.

Arlington Public Works employees use The Big Sidewalk Sucker to lift a concrete panel from the sidewalk. The device saves the city some money and time to level ground below the concrete. (Arlington Public Works)
This thing sucks and helps repair sidewalks in Arlington

Public works crews can remove heavy concrete panels from sidewalks, so the ground underneath can be restored.

United Way of Snohomish County CEO Craig Chambers at their headquarters on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New CEO expected to reinvigorate United Way of Snohomish County

The nonprofit lost staff and funding during the pandemic. Craig Chambers wants to turn things around.

New LGI Homes on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Red-hot housing market cools, a bit, in Snohomish County

The amount of housing inventory is rising. Demand is slowing. Higher mortgage rates are a cause.

John McKeon stands in front of a mobile headquarters vehicle while discussing the funding needs of Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at the search and rescue headquarters in Snohomish, Washington. McKeon said a priority for the group is to find money for new covered parking for a number of vehicles that do not have a garage to be parked in. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue wants rescuing

They’re asking for nearly $1 million in federal recovery dollars, but funding has been hard to come by.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How to answer Snohomish County’s basic crime questions? ‘Transparent data’

An initiative funded in part by Microsoft could reveal racial disparities, while creating an “apples to apples” database.

Most Read