EVERETT — Cocoon House, the Everett nonprofit that provides shelter and services to homeless teens, is embarking on an expansion that will increase both the number and the spectrum of people it serves.
The organization has several facilities scattered around the city and county, including a drop-in day center on Broadway, and 20 units of housing at the nonprofit’s headquarters in a converted motel on Pine Street.
The plan would be to combine those two facilities in a new building and nearly double the number of units available for housing.
Cassie Franklin, the nonprofit’s CEO and newly elected city councilwoman, said her case managers already have a deep pool of applicants.
“We currently have a waiting list of more than 200 youth in Snohomish County looking for homes,” Franklin said.
Franklin, her staff and Cocoon House’s board are conducting a feasibility study, which they expect to last through April. But the initial rough plans envision a 38,000-square-foot multi-story building with room for up to 40 units of housing, rooms for social services, classrooms, a computer lab and employment training center, on-site recreation and outdoor space, and Cocoon House’s administrative offices.
The project would cost up to $12 million including property acquisition, $10 million if the group tears down and rebuilds on its current site.
“A pretty big barrier to building here is I’ve got 20 kids to relocate while we’re building,” Franklin said.
The plan for a new facility would include eight units of emergency shelter beds for youth ages 12-15, nine transitional living units for ages 15-18, and seven transitional living units for state-dependent youth ages 12-18.
What would be new would be eight units each of emergency shelter space and longer-term housing units for young adults, ages 18-24.
There are currently only 12 units in the entire county that cater to young adults, operated by Friends of Youth.
Licensing requirements dictate that people 18 or over can’t be housed safely in the same communal facility as minors, so the design of a new Cocoon House includes separate entrances and community areas for each age group.
Separately, the nonprofit has applied to license four units of “Rapid Rehousing,” which are low-barrier units for the most vulnerable homeless teens.
This is similar to the Housing First model being pursued in the city of Everett for chronically homeless adults.
Like the city’s initial five units, Cocoon House’s first four units would be scattered across the city, but close enough so the residents can still receive services.
“Kids with a history of sexual aggression, severe drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness — we can’t safely house them here,” Franklin said, referring to the motel-like layout of the current facility.
Franklin said that those units likely would remain separate from any new building.
Pending final approval from the federal government and the county, Franklin said those four units are scheduled to open by July 1.