Patrick Diller, head of community partnerships for Pallet, discusses the Pallet Shelter Pilot Project in 2021 in Everett. Last week, the Everett City Council authorized spending $2.7 million for its Pallet Shelter village program. (Katie Hayes / Herald file)

Patrick Diller, head of community partnerships for Pallet, discusses the Pallet Shelter Pilot Project in 2021 in Everett. Last week, the Everett City Council authorized spending $2.7 million for its Pallet Shelter village program. (Katie Hayes / Herald file)

Everett marks $2.7 million in federal funds for homeless housing

With the American Rescue Plan money, the city’s small housing program for unsheltered people could expand to three sites.

EVERETT — Federal recovery money is set to help Everett expand its temporary small housing footprint across the city.

Last week the Everett City Council authorized spending $2.7 million for its fledgling Pallet Shelter village program. It will come from nearly $20.7 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The need for temporary housing grew during the pandemic.

Snohomish County’s latest tally of the homeless population revealed a 10-year high. The point-in-time count identified 1,184 people without homes, a 42.8% increase from the county’s low point in 2015, and 52 people more than in 2020.

Everett’s $2.7 million ARPA spending could cover site development, operations for two years and unit purchases.

The city has almost another $500,000 for its Pallet village program from a Snohomish County matching grant of up to $250,000 and $245,560 in appropriations from Rep. Rick Larsen.

Eventually there could be three villages for people without homes in Everett.

“We think between all of those funds we will absolutely be able to make those three sites happen and be able to provide the needed operations for two years,” Everett Community Development Director Julie Willie told the council.

Only one site, near Everett Gospel Mission on city-owned property, is open now. The Christian-based nonprofit that operates it plans to double its units to 40 this year.

The initial 20 units are all occupied by residents referred for the program by the city’s Community Outreach and Enforcement Team, a pairing of an Everett police officer and a social worker.

Everett Gospel Mission added a two-bathroom unit, two 100-square-foot office units and a 400-square-foot community room, Director of Strategic Initiatives John Hull said.

All of it is necessary to accommodate another 20 units, which they plan to split into smaller “neighborhoods” of 10 units each. The mission also ordered a three-stall bathroom trailer with showers and plans to put in an outdoor area with barbecue grills.

“It’s a little city community down here,” Hull said. ”This project is complete. There is no additional expansion that is going to happen.”

In September, the council approved a $477,000 contract for 40 Pallet Shelter units from the Everett-based manufacturer. With half installed at the Everett Gospel Mission site, the rest could go to other locations.

Adding them to any of the locations requires site work for electrical and water utilities. Residential units only have electricity, and the bathroom units have both.

“In this new site development plan they have a little cooking area,” Willie told The Daily Herald. “… Part of the reason these Pallet Shelter communities are successful is there is a desire for community.”

Faith Family Village has applied for permits to host a second site for families experiencing homelessness on property owned by Faith Lutheran Church. The location along Cady Road north of Madison Street would be limited to 90-day stays and operated by Interfaith Family Shelter, a nonprofit that works with people to get permanent housing.

The city is evaluating sites for a third village. Staff likely will propose a location, a partner organization to operate it and the outreach plan this summer, Willie said. It won’t be for people experiencing chronic homelessness, and it will have a community space, at least two bathroom units and two staff office units.

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

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