Everett considering more oversight of transitional housing

EVERETT — The city of Everett is considering a code change that would allow it more oversight of transitional houses, where boarders often include felons, addicts and the recently homeless.

City researchers have found little in the way of regulation for the houses, aside from rules linked to state or federal funding, Everett spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said. The new proposal would make it easier for the city to track and monitor the locations, often marketed as halfway homes or clean-and-sober housing.

When Everett police and firefighters are called to those homes, they frequently encounter less-than-ideal conditions, Pembroke said.

“We’ve often found that the occupants of these types of houses aren’t sober and the houses have been modified without permits,” she said.

Two high-profile police investigations in the past year have involved such housing. In February, federal agents arrested Timothy Rehberg, the operator of several halfway homes, on suspicion of trafficking heroin and methamphetamine. The Everett man has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

In March, the manager of an Everett transitional house was sent to prison for raping and murdering a tenant after supplying the man with methamphetamine. The killing happened in December.

The proposed changes by the city deal with codes that are applied to family-style housing, Pembroke said.

The current codes allow for up to four unrelated adults to live together, Pembroke said. If the adults are disabled, the home can house up to eight people. Under federal housing rules, recovering drug and alcohol addicts are considered disabled, she said.

Any more tenants in one home requires a city review. The proposed changes would expand that requirement to any group seeking to house more than four unrelated adults in one dwelling, she said.

The planning commission is expected to take up the issue in September. It would then make a recommendation to the City Council, which could take action in the coming months.

Some tenants in transitional housing are under supervision by the state Department of Corrections. State supervision includes house checks in some cases, and by department policy, offenders in transitional housing are more likely to be subject to those checks.

The department works to maintain “a current knowledge of transitional housing possibilities, including referrals,” agency spokesman Jeremy Barclay said.

For former inmates, such housing is meant to provide a temporary home while they rebuild their lives. The stability of safe housing has proven to be a key component in whether offenders end up back in jail or prison, Barclay said Wednesday. About 6.5 percent of state inmates released each year say they expect to be homeless.

“One of our established goals is to get back to zero,” he said. “Housing, education and employment, those are the cornerstones to getting back in society.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lake Stevens resident Rick Trout shows a Feb. 2020 photo of the rising lake level in front of his home after a storm. (Isabella Breda / The Herald)
Some Lake Stevens homeowners now must buy flood insurance

Updated FEMA maps show some lakeside homes now sit in a designated flood hazard area, due to a warming climate.

Voyager Middle School.
Shooting threat at Mukilteo schools was a joke, student says

Four threats of violence in 48 hours were reported at Snohomish County schools in the wake of a shooting at a Michigan high school.

Girl, 1, dies from gunshot wound near Granite Falls

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputies were investigating the weapons assault report Saturday night.

Prosecuting attorney, Taryn Jones gives the state's opening statement to start the trial of Ryan Leenders for first-degree murder Friday morning at the Snohomish County Superior Courthouse on December 3, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Trial opens for Everett man charged with killing party guest

A defense attorney claimed Ryan Leenders mistook a vape pen for a gun when he shot William Harper, who was not armed.

‘Prolonged neglect’: Darrington woman charged with starving horses

After a months-long investigation, the woman is accused of neglecting her animals.

State officials confirm first 3 cases of omicron variant

The cases were found in Thurston, Pierce and King counties, according to the state Department of Health.

Preston "Buddy" Dwoskin served as the head referee at the inaugural Buddy Bowl football game two years ago at Everett Memorial Stadium. (Contributed photo) 20211203
Anti-bullying ‘Buddy Bowl’ game set for Saturday in Marysville

Preston Dwoskin, a public speaker with special needs, organized the football festivities. He would like you to be there.

Police: Student, 13, falsely accused classmate of making threat

The student alleged the classmate called to say there would be a shooting at Hidden River Middle School.

Man dies in 140-foot fall from Arlington cellphone tower

The man, in his 30s, fell about just after 1:30 p.m. Saturday while working.

Most Read