The City of Everett is moving forward with a partnership with Catholic Housing Services to develop a low-barrier housing facility to serve chronically homeless Everett residents. Mayor Ray Stephanson has written a piece for the Everett Herald that does an excellent job of summarizing the need for low barrier housing while addressing common community concerns with this specific project, along with the plans that paved its way. In his own words, “the people on our streets are Everett residents, and members of our community. For their sake, and for the sake of our entire city, we must take action.”
On February 1st, the City of Everett held a community forum to follow up the November event featuring Lloyd Pendleton. The forum, which can be viewed here, featured experienced housing practitioners from around the state who operate successful low-barrier housing developments. These developments house homeless individuals with significant barriers to traditional housing options – typically multiple mental health diagnoses, perhaps criminal history, and more. These practitioners identify the individuals with the greatest needs, and place them in stable housing. Individuals are provided with the services they need to move forward in their lives, but compliance is not mandatory. They will not be asked to stop drinking completely, for example, but will be asked to stop drinking just enough to comply with minimal obligations. From that point, the pieces typically start to come together, with better success and less negative community impact than if they were still homeless. The discussion from the event was especially useful for those less familiar with low-barrier housing, as the practitioners discussed a lot of common community concerns with these housing projects and dispelled a number of common misconceptions about the chronic homeless population. Expect much more on these topics over the coming weeks on our blog!
As part of its Streets Initiative, the City of Everett is hosting a series of community housing forums. The first, back in November, featured a presentation by Lloyd Pendleton. Mr. Pendleton was a leader in writing and implementing the State of Utah’s plan to end chronic homelessness, with fantastic success through a “housing first” model. I’m posting now as it has come to my attention that the presentation has been posted on YouTube, here, and I would encourage everyone to view it. Not only has this been a highly successful program with many practical lessons to observe, Mr. Pendleton is an engaging, inspiring speaker. More information on his work can be found on Everett’s site.
The next Community Housing Forum will take place on February 1st, with a continued conversation on local successes in housing first models. More information available here.