Agency project relies on state grant, capital budget

Imagine this: you make it to mile 22 of a marathon, only for the race to be cancelled.

That’s what we at Compass Health and other organizations across Snohomish County and the entire state of Washington will experience if the state legislature doesn’t pass its capital budget by Jan. 17.

For more than a century, our organization has raced to address comprehensive behavioral health issues. That involves helping people secure housing and treatment to pull themselves out of an often-vicious cycle of mental illness and homelessness so they can lead lives filled with meaning, recovery and purpose.

Recently, we made huge strides securing local approval and funding for an 82-unit Permanent Supportive Housing project that will help Snohomish County residents with chronic mental illness move off the street and into affordable housing.

A critical next step in our journey involves obtaining funds from the State Housing Trust Fund so we can apply for federal Low Income Housing tax-credits on Jan. 17. To accomplish this, our state lawmakers must approve the capital budget — which they’ve been deliberating for 12 months — by Wednesday. We already have an application pending with the Trust Fund, and our project meets some of the highest Housing Trust Fund priorities. We also have strong support from our local City and County leaders and State Representative, all of whom understand the gravity of what’s at stake.

Now it’s time for the entire legislature to hold themselves accountable to following through.

If they fail, our project stops in its tracks. Not only will our community lose millions of dollars in outside investment and jobs, we miss a critical opportunity to help address two of the most pervasive issues facing our region: mental health and homelessness.

Let’s reach the finish line. Please contact your legislators and urge them to pass the capital budget by Jan. 17.

Tom Sebastian

President and CEO

Compass Health

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