Snohomish County, cities announce $9.6M for mental health, shelter

Projects span from Edmonds to Sultan. Each city is using American Rescue Plan Act money, with the county contributing, too.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

EVERETT — Mental health and shelter needs are set for a nearly $10 million boost across Snohomish County, city and county leaders announced Thursday.

Projects span Bothell, Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Snohomish and Sultan. Each city is using its federal American Rescue Plan Act money for the programs, with the county contributing some of its $160 million in ARPA funds as well.

In all, about $9.6 million will provide shelter for a few dozen people, keep at least 130 people in their homes or help them to find new housing, and fund behavioral health services through case managers and social workers, according to the county.

“Our unsheltered population is increasing and we need to act now to make sure we have shelter units to house the most vulnerable members of our communities,” county Office and Recovery and Resilience spokesperson Kelsey Nyland said.

Marysville’s purchase of two multi-family houses for transitional shelters is getting the most county money at $500,000. The city is matching that with its own $500,000 to provide housing for 16 people.

Edmonds’ Household Support Grants program is getting $250,000 from the county to boost the city’s $3 million allocation. Edmonds households earning 60% or less of the area median income can get up to $2,500 for owed rent or mortgage payments.

Another $250,000 will buy 20 more Pallet Shelter units to expand Everett’s temporary housing village. The city is spending $2.1 million on the program’s growth, which will double its units and pay for construction and site management.

The county also is giving Everett $250,000 for its case management program to connect homeless people with social services.

“Increasing shelter capacity is an absolute necessity as we address the increased unsheltered population throughout our county,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said in a statement.

The Volunteers of America of Western Washington rapid rehousing program in Lynnwood is getting $500,000 split by the city and the county. Earlier this year, 3,500 households waited for help on making rent with the nonprofit.

“The need is still there,” Chief Operating Officer Brian Smith said. “Just because we’re headed out of COVID doesn’t mean the problems have dissipated.”

The rapid rehousing program provides money for rent over a year that decreases every few months, with each resident covering a larger share over time. It also has case managers who work with the residents to get mental health support, enroll in benefits programs and find workforce training. The federal money will pay for two full-time case managers.

“A lot of individuals end up there from all reaches of Snohomish County as well as north King County,” Smith said. ”It’s needed everywhere and we’re grateful to be able to do it in Lynnwood.”

Monroe and the county are each putting in $250,000 for a grant program that employment, housing support, mental health and substance use disorder service groups can apply for.

Sultan partnered with Monroe for over $120,000 on another VOA-run mental health program. A mobile mental health and dispatch service will operate out of the Sky Valley Community Resource Center, Smith said. That money will pay for a mental health professional.

The city of Snohomish is using $250,000, plus another $250,000 from the county, on mental health for students in the Snohomish School District. That money will pay for two clinicians for middle and high school students, as well as one social worker for elementary school students. Those staff members can provide counseling for students and support for their families. The city also is adding a community navigator for students not in the Snohomish schools to help them with health and housing issues.

In a similar fashion, Lynnwood is using $150,000 plus a matching amount from the county for homeless students. According to the county, there are 139 homeless students in Lynnwood who could benefit from counseling, food, hygiene, clothing, career services, mentorship and system navigation support offered by Washington Kids in Transition, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless students and their families in the Edmonds and Everett school districts.

Mukilteo is getting a Compass Health mental health professional to pair with a police officer for $130,000 split by the city and county.

Bothell is using $10,000, plus a matching amount from the county, to secure food, warm clothing, bus tickets, ID replacement, bottled water and other basic needs for people in the city’s Community Court. People in the program have committed low-level offenses.

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

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