The Everett United Church of Christ on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Everett United Church of Christ on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

County gives Everett $4M for replacement shelter purchase

The city will lead work to find a new site for a 40-bed shelter after the county ended its proposal to buy and convert a church.

EVERETT — Snohomish County is giving $4 million to the City of Everett so officials and staff can find a new site for a shelter that has operated since 2019 near downtown.

But that location won’t be the Waits Motel, which is being considered for city-ordered condemnation and demolition.

Staff in an Everett City Council document made it clear the money wouldn’t be used to convert the 24-room motel at 1301 Lombard Ave., into a shelter, which some nearby residents opposed.

“This effort and these funds are entirely unrelated and will not be used in any way for the Waits Motel property,” city staff wrote.

The council agreed to accept the county’s money in a 6-0 vote Wednesday.

“Every neighborhood needs 100 beds if we’re going to accommodate our future growth,” Everett Community Development director Julie Willie said. “So we all collectively have to work really hard and we have to really make good choices and defend our choices.”

The money comes in the wake of the county’s scuttled proposal earlier this year to buy Hope Church, at 4502 Rucker Ave., and turn it into a low-barrier homeless shelter.

The shelter would have housed up to 40 people and replaced the congregate shelter near downtown at United Church of Christ at 2624 Rockefeller Ave.

But some people in the nearby neighborhoods said they opposed Hope Church becoming a shelter over fears it would endanger children near a park and the YMCA.

Supporters of the proposed shelter argued it was needed so people can stabilize their lives in pursuit of employment, health or sobriety.

Hundreds of shelter beds are needed across Snohomish County.

There were 1,285 homeless people during the county’s annual point-in-time count earlier this year. It continued a decade-long rise, and many who work in homeless outreach programs believe the snapshot figure is lower than the actual number.

As of late 2022, there were 683 shelter beds available year-round. Another 130 are being developed through the county’s purchase of two motels in Edmonds and Everett, and 157 are available during cold weather.

Since 2019, the county has funded the 40-bed shelter in the United Church of Christ basement. But city officials had asked county leaders to find a new site for years, Willie said.

When the county ditched purchasing Hope Church along Evergreen Way in late April, the plan was to give the city money to find a replacement, an executive director in County Executive Dave Somers’ office wrote in a letter to Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin.

The county extended its lease agreement for the United Church of Christ shelter until a new site was ready.

“We believe turning 40 vulnerable people onto the streets of Everett is neither compassionate nor good for public safety,” county executive director Lacey Harper wrote in the letter.

After Franklin announced her intent to condemn the Waits Motel, long a source of complaints and emergency responder calls in north Everett, some people in the area worried the city was looking to convert it into a shelter. But Franklin and other staff have reiterated their plan for condemnation is to purchase the property, demolish the building, then have it redeveloped into residential housing.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037;; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Safeway store at 4128 Rucker Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Police: Everett Safeway ex-worker accused of trying to ram customers

The man, 40, was showing symptoms of psychosis, police wrote. Officers found him circling another parking lot off Mukilteo Boulevard.

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 196th ST SW Improvement Project near the 196th and 44th Ave West intersection in Lynnwood, Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Jarred by anti-Semitic rants, Lynnwood council approves tax increase

Three people spewed hate speech via Zoom at a council meeting this week. Then, the council moved on to regular business.

The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
General election results stamped official by canvassing board

In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

Outside of Angel of the Winds Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Police arrest Angel of the Winds arena worker accused of stabbing boss

The man allegedly walked up to his employer and demanded a raise, before stabbing him in the stomach, witnesses said.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset on December 11, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
After strike, Everett nurses, Providence agree on tentative contract

Following a five-day strike, union nurses and the hospital met to negotiate for the first time in late November.

The terminal and air traffic control tower at Paine Field are seen on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in unincorporated Snohomish County, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s second-largest aerospace employer, ATS, names new CEO

New CEO Robert Cords will lead Paine Field-based Aviation Technical Services, which employs 800 people in Everett.

A sign showing the river levels of previous floods is visible along the Snohomish River on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Forecast holds: Flooding to hit Tuesday in Gold Bar, Monroe, Snohomish

The Snohomish River was expected to crest “just below” major flood stage late Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Chestnut mushrooms grow in a fruiting tent on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at Black Forest Mushrooms in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Fungi town: Downtown Everett home to new indoor gourmet mushroom farm

Black Forest Mushrooms will grow up to 20,000 pounds of tasty mushrooms each month. Its storefront opens Saturday at 2110 Hewitt Ave.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.