Public hearing planned to address homeless housing project

EVERETT — A public hearing on Everett’s plan to build a homeless housing project is set for 6 p.m. Thursday in Everett Station’s Weyerhaeuser Room.

The hearing is expected to draw a sizable crowd and might be extended to another date if there isn’t enough time for everyone to have their say, city officials said.

The city intends to build a 65-unit apartment building on land it owns in central Everett off Berkshire Drive. Catholic Housing Services is leading the development of the project and ultimately will own and manage the building.

The model for the facility is known as low-barrier supportive housing. Future residents are expected to have been homeless for extended periods of time and also likely to be struggling with substance abuse or mental illness.

Social services are to be offered on-site for the residents, and the building will be staffed around the clock with a secure entry. The units are intended to be permanent homes. So long as people abide by the building’s rules, they’ll be able to stay.

Residents will be able to qualify for an apartment only through the existing countywide process that gives them access to public services.

City officials don’t expect crowds to gather outside the doors of the project, a common sight around some homeless shelters that offer temporary housing.

Catholic Housing runs several similar projects around Puget Sound. Patrick Place in Seattle is considered one of the models for the Everett project.

That hasn’t stopped nearby neighbors from protesting the city’s decision to put the facility on Berkshire Drive, half a block from Evergreen Way. Neighborhood concerns include fears of increased crime and lower property values.

The public hearing is required as part of an environmental review of the project. A hearing examiner will only be accepting comments at Thursday’s meeting related to land use and environmental questions.

The documents and forms submitted for the review are online at https://everettwa.gov/1673/Safe-Streets-Supportive-Housing.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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