Legislative News from Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett)
February 24, 2016
Investing in housing and services in Everett
OLYMPIA – The capital budget proposal released today by the House invests $312 million into Washington state’s infrastructure – creating jobs and supporting the needs of our local communities. Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett) successfully requested funding for two projects to address homelessness in Everett and Snohomish County.
“The homeless population in Washington has reached crisis proportions. The strategies that have been used in the past to address homelessness are no longer working,” said Rep. Robinson. “I greatly appreciate that the capital budget proposal includes funding for the City of Everett’s Low-Barrier Housing project and for Cocoon House, two programs that are taking new approaches to addressing homelessness.”
Everett has over 200 chronically homeless individuals who are in need of housing and intensive services to prevent them from returning to homelessness. Funding in the capital budget for Everett’s Low-Barrier Housing project will be used for a facility to provide housing and mental health services for 60 chronically homeless individuals. Although not funded in the capital budget, this project will also place 20 chronically homeless individuals in rental units around the city and provide wrap-around support services.
“Providing stable, permanent housing is the first step in reducing the chronic homeless population in Everett,” said Robinson. “We cannot expect homeless individuals to be able to successfully complete drug treatment or get mental health care if they do not first have a safe, stable place to call home. This project provides housing, and it doesn’t stop there, it also provides services on-site that can address many of the underlying causes for homelessness.”
Young people who experience homelessness are more likely to be homeless as adults, struggle with substance abuse, and be abused or assaulted. Homeless and at-risk youth need support and services in order to have an opportunity to succeed. Cocoon House serves young people in Snohomish County through outreach, housing and prevention. Funding in the capital budget will allow Cocoon House to redevelop their main center to provide a full-service drop-in center and add 12 additional beds, bringing their housing capacity up to 32.
“Reaching out to young people is one of the best ways we have to prevent homelessness or make sure that homelessness is a one-time occurrence,” said Robinson. “Programs like Cocoon House help young people break the cycle of homelessness by providing access to housing, education and job readiness, and connections to essential services.”