Edmonds mayor appoints task force to focus on housing, homelessness

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Mark Smith of the Housing Coalition of Everett and Snohomish County takes questions from the audience during a low-income housing forum in April at the Edmonds Library Plaza Room. Smith is one of nine people who have been appointed to the Mayor’s Housing Strategy Task Force. (My Edmonds News file photo by Michael McAuliffe)

Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling on Tuesday announced appointments to a Mayor’s Housing Strategy Task Force that will tackle issues like housing affordability and homelessness.

“Many groups around the region are working on housing and homelessness issues,” Earling said. “We need our own approach, one that recognizes good examples from others but is tailored to our community, our people, our needs.”

Affordable housing issues have taken center stage in Edmonds in recent months, with a low-income housing forum in late April drawing a crowd for discussion on problems and solutions

Appointees include Mark Smith. Housing Coalition of Everett and Snohomish County; Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Edmonds City Council; Rob Van Tassell.Housing and Community Development of Catholic Housing of Western Washington; Anne Wermus, (Edmonds Housing Instability Coalition; Bill Anderson, member, Edmonds Lutheran Church; M. Chris Boyer, pastor, Good Shepherd Baptist Church; Mark Craig, Henbart LLC; Jamie Reece, Keller Williams Real Estate and Chris Collier, Alliance for Housing Affordability.

Under Edmonds’ Comprehensive Plan, the city is required to develop a housing strategy by 2019. According to a city announcement Tuesday, the task force will focus on accomplishing this work sooner. Starting in the fall, the group will meet monthly into early 2018 to hear presentations and discuss recommended actions.

“Housing affordability is a challenge in our community — even more than in some places,” said Edmonds Development Services Director Shane Hope, who will lead the task force’s work. “We want to come up with solutions for affordability and a range of housing needs. The intent is to have a strategic approach to what’s effective and what the city should prioritize.”

The draft Housing Strategy is expected to start with key data about housing in Edmonds. It will also identify various housing tools and resources, and recommend actions and priorities for the city. The strategy will be considered by the Edmonds Planning Board, with input from the public, and ultimately may be adopted by the Edmonds City Council next year, the city announcement said.

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