EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A $4.3 million state grant will pay for new initiatives expected to provide a nightly safe place to stay for about 90 homeless people across Snohomish County, chipping away at a shelter bed shortage that local officials say has swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county plans to spend about $2.4 million of the grant on a new facility in the Everett area to house 50 to 60 people at a time, clearing the way for officials to decommission an emergency shelter in the heart of downtown, the Everett Herald reported.
City officials have also proposed using about $735,000 of the grant, from the state Department of Commerce’s Shelter Program, to build a community of about 20 low-cost shelter units known as “pallet shelters.”
These are a form of personal shelter, a specialty of a local manufacturer, that is gaining traction nationwide as a strategy that can provide stable, short-term homes for individuals and families while they seek permanent housing.
City and county officials are working with human services organizations to explore possible locations for the pair of projects and identify agencies that might operate them. The timeline for opening them will likely depend on permitting requirements and other preparation needs of the locations selected, officials say.
“We’re wanting to move as quickly as possible and make sure that we’re developing the best possible site for the community,” said county Human Services Director Mary Jane Brell Vujovic.