Snohomish studying the community’s highest human needs
SNOHOMISH — The city’s top three human service needs are mental health care, affordable housing and food security, says a volunteer workgroup’s report.
Sometime within the coming months, the city will begin polling the community, city planner Brooke Eidem said during a presentation to the City Council.
Some of the workgroup’s suggestions are addressing service gaps with initiatives such as creating a “one-stop-shop” resource center and forming emergency shelter space for people experiencing homelessness.
The resource center could be staffed 24/7 and located near a transit stop with emergency housing, medical services, job training, childcare facilities.
For affordable housing, the city could buy land to have it developed for transitional and permanent housing or give money to existing hyperlocal efforts such as the Snohomish Affordable Housing Group, the report suggests. Another idea suggested is to introduce modular emergency housing, similar to Everett’s Pallet shelters, with the catch that its residents would agree to treatment services.
The programs should focus on three priority groups: People who are homeless or at risk of being homeless and families with children, people with behavioral health disabilities and unaccompanied homeless youth.
Child care needs was an early contender for prioritization, but didn’t rise to the level of other needs the group identified.
Accomplishing what’s on paper will require assessing the costs, staffing needs and challenges, the report notes for next steps.
Council President Tom Merrill mentioned that any effort needs to ensure Snohomish residents are served, to avoid blurring lines.
“I want to make sure we are not addressing county problems, but have them down to issues of Snohomish,” Merrill said.
Mayor Linda Redmon convened the workgroup this spring.
The full report and workgroup meeting minutes is within the City Council packet for the June 21 meeting that can be accessed through this link from the city website, www.snohomishwa.gov
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