A shelter village for homeless people is planned in Everett’s future
EVERETT — A tiny shelter village may someday spring up in Everett to house homeless individuals.
City administrators want to put up about one-dozen small, aluminum cabins somewhere in the city. The money to do so is through a grant from the state Department of Commerce.
A few steps are still to come. One is that the City Council would need to approve accepting the grant to move the project ahead.
The aluminum shelters are easily erected and dismantled. They are heated and are lockable, but do not have kitchens or bathrooms, manufacturer Pallet Shelter’s owner and founder Amy King said.
The city would hire a social services agency to work with the people who would live in the shelter village, Everett’s community development director Julie Willie said. Its occupants would be let in under the “Housing First” model embraced by Everett, which means drug and alcohol issues are not barriers.
The proposed community’s location is not identified yet, which made a few council members hesitant last week. Whatever site would have to meet city zoning codes.
Pallet Shelter manufactures the buildings at Merrill Creek Parkway in Everett. They make 64- and 100-square-foot versions. The 64-square-foot shelters start at $4,900.
The buildings were envisioned as housing after emergency disasters. However, Pallet has seen a bigger market in addressing homelessness: Similar Pallet villages for homeless individuals are in Tacoma, Minneapolis and Sonoma County, California.
Pallet says using its shelters help mitigate an issue posed by a change in federal law in which cities can’t prosecute homeless people for camping in public if there are no shelter beds available. That U.S. Supreme Court decision was Martin v. City of Boise.
City officials have been in talks with Pallet Shelter since at least the summer.
In related news
Snohomish County is working to set up its own permanent homeless shelter.
Right now, about 40 to 50 people are staying overnight in the basement of the Carnegie Building downtown (and others are camping around it, including outside Angel of the Winds Arena). The Carnegie began being used as a temporary shelter under a COVID-19 health order from County Executive Dave Somers. It is not set up to be a permanent shelter.
County human services director Mary Jane Brell Vujovic said Nov. 4 that a countywide location hunt to place the permanent shelter has narrowed down to two spots in Everett.
Unsanctioned encampments have continued to grow in Everett, Willie said.
Forty-five percent of the county’s homeless population is in Everett, according to data in the county’s Point-In-Time homeless count.
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