Related to the news that Snohomish County plans to buy a Highway 99 motel in Edmonds to provide transitional housing for those experiencing homelessness, County Councilmember Nate Nehring has introduced an ordinance requiring that tenants who have been diagnosed with substance use disorder participate in a drug treatment program.
Nehring has requested that the county council delay the vote on hotel purchases until the drug treatment ordinance can be considered.
The county has proposed buying both the America’s Best Value Inn and the Days Inn with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) pandemic recovery money. The America’s Best Value Inn would be purchased for $9.1 million and the Days Inn for $10.8 million.
The facilities are described as bridge housing, designed to provide immediate shelter in a stable environment, with 24/7 support services. It is considered a first step toward permanent housing and comes with medical and mental health help, job services and other immediate needs.
Focusing on addiction recovery for those housed in county-owned shelters is critical to resolving one of the root causes of homelessness, Nehring said. According to data published in the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine, over one-third of individuals without homes also suffer from an addiction, he added.
“To address the root causes of homelessness, we must take a compassionate approach to help those struggling get back on their feet,” Nehring said. “Warehousing individuals struggling with addiction in hotels just to get them off the street is not solving the underlying causes of their situation and is not compassionate. My ordinance would require that these individuals participate in a treatment program.”
If adopted, the ordinance would specifically address residents of county-owned hotels that have been converted to bridge or permanent supportive housing facilities and would only apply to individuals with a substance use disorder. The county council is scheduled to vote on the purchase of both the America’s Best Value Inn in Edmonds and the Days Inn in Everett at their Aug. 17 meeting, which starts at 9 a.m.
Assuming approval by the county council, the purchase of America’s Best Value Inn will mark the first time this type of housing will be available in South Snohomish County.
I agree with the required treatment program. That said my guess is many won’t go or stay long enough to get the help they need. In my opinion we need a involuntary treatment program with services on the back end.
We need a mandatory in-house rehab.. the drugs now are too strong, the dealers too close to the addicts, even if they wanted to get off the drugs, couldn’t.
Agree with the required treatment program approach. If addiction treatment is not provided, we do not have a chance of changing the negative influence that is driving that person to homelessness. Let’s learn from the failure in other cities. If housing is the provided and nothing is done to require the person to improve their lot in life, the effort will fail to help the person and will result in continued addiction and will only attract more people with the same problem for free housing. The extreme drugs of the day are a death sentence if we do not require treatment.
I Absolutely agree with the idea and these comments, Some may question the impingment upon free will and civil rights. Ask any addict in recovery if he had free will while in the grip of addiction. If the civil rights of the ordinary citizen are being ursurped by the behaviors of the addicted-then I think that objection is rendered moot. Civil rights should be granted to those who can behave in a civilized manner.
Oh Glory be! Finally, a decision maker who has some sense, and who really, ACTUALLY wants to help addicts!
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