Baker Heights public housing complex is in north Everett. (Everett Housing Authority)

Baker Heights public housing complex is in north Everett. (Everett Housing Authority)

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

EVERETT — Families have begun moving out of north Everett’s Baker Heights public housing complex, which is headed toward demolition.

As of Friday, 17 households have secured new homes, according to the Everett Housing Authority. Another 227 households still are looking. The relocation process is expected to last into mid-2019. A public hearing is planned next month to discuss potential policy changes to keep the pace on track.

“Overall, we’ve made very good progress,” Executive Director Ashley Lommers-Johnson said.

Baker Heights, in the Delta neighborhood, is a collection of buildings dating back to World War II. The complex is considered obsolete and in need of prohibitively expensive repairs. In June, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development granted the housing authority permission to sell the site. Moves started in September.

It’s an usually large tract of land to become available so close to North Broadway, which is seeing revitalization around Everett Community College and WSU Everett.

At some point, about 11 acres of the property will go on the market, but the details haven’t been decided. The housing authority plans to retain the other 3.6 acres to build new multi-family units.

Most Baker Heights residents are receiving Section 8 rent subsidization vouchers for their new homes, Lommers-Johnson said. Others exceed the income brackets for that program, he said.

The agency has assigned four employees to the relocation efforts full time, including Erica Dias, who is managing their efforts. So far, they’ve assisted all but two of the households who have moved out, she said. Former tenants’ new homes include housing authority properties, private apartments and senior housing.

Each family has different needs, including challenges related to mobility, transportation and school district boundaries, Dias said. The relocation team has provided assistance with searching listings, making budgets and communicating with prospective landlords. Transportation also has been offered to tour potential homes.

The area slated for housing redevelopment has 48 units on site now, Lommers-Johnson said. The housing authority aims to use that land for 82 new units. Most of the floor plans are designed for families, and the number of bedrooms will vary, he said. The construction schedule depends on the relocation of existing households, and how funding comes together. Because of that, there is more urgency to relocate folks in those units.

Of the new apartments, 62 will be reserved for families who are experiencing homelessness and have children in the Everett School District.

Baker Heights residents will have first dibs on the remaining units, he said.

Lommers-Johnson acknowledges the rental market can be demanding and expensive. There has been increased talk in Everett about affordable housing — how much is needed and where. There also are ongoing discussions about the potential need for living spaces that are more attainable than traditional houses, such as condos and town homes.

Organizing hundreds of moving days isn’t a simple task, but the housing authority has experience on that front, Lommers-Johnson said. Through various programs, the agency serves nearly 4,000 households and owns or oversees 33 multi-family properties, mostly in Everett. Baker Heights has the most tenants, with 54 more units than the next largest complex, which is on Broadway.

The agency helped place more than 200 households with Section 8 vouchers from January through June of this year, he said. Unlike Baker Heights residents, those folks didn’t have the assistance of a relocation team.

Lommers-Johnson cited a number of initiatives related to the team’s work. Landlords have been invited to Baker Heights to market their available units. The Volunteers of America and the Northwest Justice Project have been involved. Their offerings include legal guidance, financial counseling and free training sessions on tenants’ rights.

The public hearing is set for 12:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the agency’s main offices on Colby Avenue. It will focus on potential changes to admissions policies, Lommers-Johnson said. Because they are being displaced, Baker Heights residents could be given preference for new openings within housing authority properties, especially tenants on the land being redeveloped sooner, he said.

Last month, the housing authority received an award for the relocation efforts at a community health summit. The award recognized “care and compassion.” The summit hosts were the Providence Institute for a Healthier Community and the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @rikkiking.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.
Race for Mukilteo City Council is a mix of old and new names

Housing, waterfront and public safety top the list of concerns for candidates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, front, talks to reporters in Olympia, Wash., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, as Secretary of Health Umair Shah looks on. Inslee announced that starting Nov. 15, people in the state will need to either provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test in order to attend large events. (AP Photo/ Rachel La Corte)
With vaccine deadline here, some fired in Snohomish County

Some workers sought an injunction against Gov. Inslee’s mandate. That effort fell flat Monday, the deadline to get vaccinated.

In this May 2020 photo, garbage cans line a residential street on trash pickup day in Mukilteo. In November, voters will weigh in on whether the city should encourage more high density housing. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

Community Transit is preparing to shift commuter buses that go to the University of Washington in Seattle to connect with Link light rail in Northgate next year. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’

Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates.

Police: Man showed up to ex-wife’s Everett home, stabbed ex-roommate

The suspect, 47, of Seattle, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree assault.

Lake Stevens worker’s protection order granted against boss

The worker and his boss, Public Works Director Eric Durpos, were put on leave for an incident at a grievance meeting.

Top row: Vanessa Edwards (left) and Ray Sheldon Jr. Bottom row (from left): Connor Krebbs, Wade Rinehardt and Katie Jackson. (Not pictured: Sherry Weersing)
After year of tumult, new faces vie for Marysville School Board

One candidate is concerned about “Critical Race Theory.” Others see more pressing issues.

2 years later, charges filed in ‘unusual’ deadly crash in Everett

Dakotah Allett, 27, crashed into two vehicles on the side of I-5, leaving one woman dead, the new charges say.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, center, greets a new trooper during a graduation ceremony, as Gov. Jay Inslee looks on in the Rotunda at the Capitol Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Olympia, Wash. The class of 31 troopers completed more than 1,000 hours of training and will now work for the WSP across the state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 2,000 state workers lose jobs

Ten troopers north of Seattle, 54 Monroe prison workers and hundreds more across the state refused the governor’s mandate.

Most Read