Cocoon House broke ground on its new youth services and housing building Friday in Everett. Construction should be complete by March 2019. (Cocoon House)

Cocoon House broke ground on its new youth services and housing building Friday in Everett. Construction should be complete by March 2019. (Cocoon House)

New shelter to be first of its kind in Snohomish County

Cocoon House’s Colby Avenue center will be the first shelter in the county to cater exclusively to people ages 18 to 24.

EVERETT — Cocoon House broke ground Friday on its new youth services and housing building in Everett.

Construction begins in May, and should be complete by March 2019.

The Colby Avenue Youth Center should provide resources for people ages 12 to 24 and their families. Premera Blue Cross this month donated $1.6 million to the organization, which helped make the project possible. Cocoon House is an Everett-based nonprofit, dedicated to helping at-risk or homeless youth.

The new location is at the former First United Methodist Church site, 3530 Colby Ave. Demolition of the church begins within the next couple of weeks.

The 32,000-square-foot center should include medical and counseling services, along with support for families. Plans include 40 living spaces, split into separate rooms on different floors. Half would provide housing for 12- to 17-year-olds, and the rest for 18- to 24-year-olds.

This is the first shelter to cater exclusively to people ages 18 to 24 in Snohomish County, said Stephanie Almeida, Cocoon House communications manager.

“A lot of people don’t think of this demographic as youth, but they absolutely are,” she said. “Not every 18-year-old is ready to leave the nest when it’s time to fly.”

All of Cocoon House’s administration would move to the center. The nonprofit plans to sell two of its buildings in Everett once the new facility is up and running, said Interim CEO Joe Alonzo.

One building is used as an outreach and drop-in center on Broadway, and the other is offices and long-term housing on Pine Street.

The Pine Street building now provides 20 sleeping spaces. While Alonzo expects it will be sold, the plan is for that to happen with another operation that provides housing to those in need. That way, Everett still will wind up with 40 more beds.

“Our commitment was to keep housing stock in Snohomish County as high as possible,” Alonzo said.

Planning started in 2014, and fundraising in 2016. At that time, the estimated cost was $13 million. After some setbacks, the price grew to $14.2 million.

The donation from Premera Blue Cross covered the shortage. The health insurance agency is a nonprofit corporation, with headquarters in Mountlake Terrace.

Premera this year received a $390 million one-time refund from the Republican tax cut passed in December 2017. It pledged to spend $250 million on health care resources in Washington and Alaska. Cocoon House was one of the first recipients.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com.

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