County diversion center opens soon for homeless addicts

A temporary infusion of state money will get the pilot program launched next month in Everett.

EVERETT — In a few weeks, the doors of the Snohomish County Diversion Center will open to homeless men and women looking to beat their addiction, get treatment for their mental health needs and re-establish their footing in society.

County officials are gearing up for a launch sometime in April after the area’s delegation of lawmakers secured $800,000 for the pilot program in the state supplemental budget they approved March 8.

“We’re very pleased and thankful to the Legislature for providing us with those dollars,” said Cammy Hart-Anderson, a manager for the county’s Human Services Department.

The money should be sufficient to cover operations through the end of year. After that, county money will be required to keep it going. One source might be the one-tenth of 1 cent now collected for mental health programs and services, she said.

“It was our intention from the beginning to keep the program going,” she said.

Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, one of those instrumental in securing the state funds, said Monday he’s confident the county will cover the ongoing investment and not seek additional help from the state treasury next year.

“It is my perception that the county is dedicated to seeing this through and will continue this program,” said Hayes, who works for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The diversion center is envisioned as a short-term, residential program for the county’s homeless population who are addicted to drugs, primarily opioids, and might be struggling with untreated mental health needs. Many might have a history of committing low-level crimes to live and support their addiction, according to the center’s website.

People at the diversion center will be brought there by deputies working with social workers, a team known as the sheriff’s Office of Neighborhoods. They won’t be under arrest.

It will operate at 1918 Wall St., the former work-release center, which the county closed in 2017 because of budget cuts.

Hart-Anderson said the center is expected to open in April. The precise timing will depend on hiring of trained staff by Pioneer Human Services, which is contracted to run the center.

Its staff will include people trained in emergency medicine. It also will have those who can help clients obtain medically assisted treatment for opioid withdrawal, including prescriptions to Suboxone, the buprenorphine-based compound that can help ease symptoms and improve chances of recovery.

When Gov. Jay Inslee received a tour of the site and explanation of the program in January, he described the undertaking as “genius on the streets.”

Under provisions in the budget, Snohomish County must keep track of what happens with each person brought to the center and provide the data to the state Department of Commerce. In turn, the department must submit a report to lawmakers on Oct. 1, 2019.

That report must provide information on the nature of behavioral health services provided to those served by the pilot program as well as how many clients secured stable housing as a result of the services. The report also must track how many of those who arrived with an alcohol or drug addiction completed either a detoxification or chemical dependency treatment program.

Hayes considers this data the most critical component of the pilot.

“I think it’s going to be that reporting and the metrics that will demonstrate the success of this type of program and hopefully will lead us to a point where we can push more funding to these types of programs in the future,” he said.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Monroe Correctional Complex on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Inmates held a demonstration on Wednesday night after six inmates tested positive for COVID-19. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Another outbreak sends 60 to isolation at Monroe prison unit

One worker and one prisoner tested positive Monday. Then more cases were found throughout the Twin Rivers Unit.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 dead, 1 injured in T-bone crash in Everett

The two people who died are believed to be in their 80s. Police don’t suspect alcohol, drugs or speed played a role.

Resident escapes burning trailer near Gold Bar

Nobody was injured in the fire Saturday, but the home was destroyed.

1 dead, 3 injured in 5-car crash east of Stanwood

Katrina Kakalecik, 27, of Granite Falls, was a passenger in an SUV that was rear-ended on Thanksgiving.

A woman walks a dog in downtown Snohomish on Oct. 22. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish adopts sales tax for mental health, affordable housing

The city’s new 0.1% tax is also under consideration elsewhere in Snohomish County.

Kyle Wheeler listens as he is convicted of second-degree manslaughter in Snpohomish County Superior Court on Thursday August 12, 2021 in Everett, Wash. ( Ellen Dennis /The Herald)
When killer skipped prison date, family’s mourning turned to fear

A judge sentenced Kyle Wheeler for killing an Everett man, Charles Hatem, then freed him on a promise to report to prison.

Michael Ciaravino
Ex-Mill Creek manager gets $92K severance after rocky tenure

Deputy City Manager Martin Yamamoto has temporarily taken over after Michael Ciaravino’s resignation.

Shawneri Guzman, center, who was named Washington's Fire Educator of the Year and her team of Community Resource firefighter paramedics Janette Anderson, left, and Captain Nicole Picknell, right, at the Lynnwood Fire Station on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A pandemic playbook, used nationally, was made in Snohomish County

South County Fire helped transport “patient zero.” Their COVID manual has helped departments far and wide.

Charges: Everett ID thief tried to buy wheels, speakers, more

The man, 33, was charged this week with 10 counts of identity theft in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Most Read