EVERETT — This year, three projects in Everett will add 150 new units of supportive housing to Snohomish County. This type of affordable housing is coupled with services, including mental health and addiction treatment, medical care and job skill training.
“If you just give someone a home without the wraparound services, we have found they won’t be as successful at breaking out of poverty,” said Sara Wilson, a spokeswoman for Housing Hope, one of the organizations with a ribbon cutting planned in 2019.
HopeWorks Station II, at Broadway and 34th Street, is set to open in September. Over 80 percent of 65 units will be for families and others transitioning out of homelessness and willing to participate in employment training.
Housing Hope’s supportive model begins with housing, then focuses on life and job skills, training workers in its cafe and landscaping businesses.
“A big focus for people living in the building will be jobs. That’s unique about the program,” Wilson said. “It’s not just for a family who needs a home, but also needs to grow their job skills.”
The building will be adjacent to HopeWorks Station I, which contains a home furnishing store and a cafe. The coffee shop will move into the new building.
The agency provides housing to roughly 480 households in the county and another 301 became homeowners through its sweat equity program, according to Wilson.
The nonprofit is planning a grand opening in April for the 40 units. The expanded space will allow Cocoon House to start serving young adults ages 18 to 24, said Joseph Alonzo, CEO.
“Providing a housing unit doesn’t ensure success,” Alonzo said. “Having the ability to access a variety of services in one place gives them stability.”
The three-story building will be radically different than the current location, an old motel centered around a courtyard. On the first floor, the new space will contain a clinic, a community kitchen, classrooms and counseling offices. The apartments will be located on the two top stories. The rooms will be similar to college dormitories, with units sharing a communal kitchen and living room.
“It is designed as neighborhoods to recreate a family-like environment between staff and youth,” Alonzo said. “There are very few options for a 19-year-old who is homeless wanting to engage in supportive housing.”
Alonzo would like to see the old location remain low-income housing. Cocoon House has three locations in Everett: a drop-in center, a shelter and a long-term housing program. And it operates a home for pregnant teens in Arlington and a shelter in Monroe.
A third project in town, a low-barrier shelter on Berkshire Drive in central Everett, will offer a permanent home to the chronically homeless. This population tends to be seen often in the emergency room and the jail, according to Sarah Jayne Barrett, a director of housing for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, the agency developing the project.
They are often low-level offenders with chronic issues that would be better served with housing, Barrett said.
Low-barrier projects are part of the Housing First model that prioritizes permanent housing for people who are homeless. Once that happens, service providers then connect residents with other programs and treatment.
Construction on the four-story building, now known as Clare’s Place, is set to finish in May. It will be staffed 24 hours a day. Community Health Centers of Snohomish County will provide on-site medical care. The 65 apartments each have a kitchen, bathroom, washer and dryer.
“For so long we heard there’s not enough housing. Sixty-five units is a significant amount and can make an impact on our homeless system,” Barrett said. “We can get people off the streets.”
Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @lizzgior.