County council approves purchase of hotels for bridge housing

The Snohomish County Council voted to approve County Executive Dave Somers’s proposal to convert two hotels into bridge housing with support services. Combined, the Days Inn in Everett and the America’s Best Value Inn in Edmonds will create 129 new units of time-limited housing for residents without shelter.

The county is using its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase both of these facilities — $10.8 million for the Everett location and $9.1 million for the facility in Edmonds.

“Communities across Snohomish County have made clear that stabilizing and supporting our vulnerable residents is a top priority,” Somers said in a county news release. These individuals and our neighborhoods are safer and stronger when we provide pathways to wraparound services, treatment for those in need, employment assistance, and access to housing,”

“I am proud to support the county’s unique approach to provide services and assistance to those who are most vulnerable in our community,” said County Council Vice Chair Jared Mead, who represents the cities of Mountlake Terrace and Brier in District 4. “I am confident that this investment will help create safer, healthier, and stronger communities for us all.”

Councilmember Stephanie Wright, who represents the cities of Edmonds and Lynnwood and the Town of Woodway in District 3, said the housing and wraparound services made available through this effort “will increase public safety while reducing many of the dangers, anxieties, and roadblocks experienced by our most vulnerable. I’m glad we’ve acted on this great opportunity to help people change their lives for the better. This housing will have a lasting positive impact on our Snohomish County communities.”

Over the last two weeks, Executive Somers has proposed three investments to significantly boost bridge housing and behavioral health services across the county:

  1. Shelter & Behavioral Health Partnership Program – 36 new units
  2. Days Inn hotel purchase – 74 new units
  3. America’s Best hotel purchase – 55 new units

In total, these three projects will create 165 spaces, representing a 26% increase in Snohomish County’s system capacity.

Both facilities will serve unsheltered adults in Snohomish County. In addition to time-limited bridge housing, individuals will have access to wraparound services, including food, hygiene, employment services, legal services, mental health services, and substance use disorder services. The facility will also have 24/7 on-site staffing and services.

Now that the purchase is finalized, Snohomish County will conduct extensive on-site assessments of both facilities to determine any needed renovations. In addition, the county will issue a request for proposals for service-providing organizations to help operate the facilities. The county will also continue community outreach to ensure residents and organizations can learn more about the program, provide input on implementation, and ask questions.

  1. I hope MEN continues to report on the progress of these projects. In particular, it would be good to know if similar projects have been successful in other communities. It is also important to know exactly how these facilities will be funded/maintained after the initial purchase with ARPA funds. And finally, a little clarity on how this purchase falls under ARPA would also be worth knowing.

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