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Snohomish County purchases second hotel for housing homeless population

The county has purchased hotels in Everett and Edmonds with pandemic relief funding. The hotels will be converted into temporary housing.

EDMONDS, Wash. — Snohomish County announced Monday it is purchasing a second hotel to help house people transitioning out of homelessness. 

The building is currently America's Best Value Inn off Highway 99 in Edmonds. The county said there are 55 units that will be converted to time-limited bridge housing.

"Mountlake Terrace, Lynwood, Edmonds, we don't have any facilities in south county so this gives us all an opportunity to support people," said Edmonds Deputy Parks, Recreation and Human Services Director Shannon Burley.

Burley said Edmonds has been asking the county for a facility like this for "quite some time." 

The county purchased the hotel with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Last week, the county announced it was using those same funds to purchase a hotel in Everett. The county said between the two hotel purchases and a new shelter partnership program it's increased its system capacity by 26 percent this year, creating 165 new beds. 

Burley said the city estimates there are at least 450 people without a permanent address in Edmonds. They were already using the America's Best Value Inn to temporarily house people while they worked to find a more permanent solution, which Burley said is difficult to find in South Snohomish County. 

"Really our only option was to transfer them up to Everett and hope to find space,  but there really isn't space. There just isn't shelter available for people," said Burley, "So in order for us to help people recover [this purchase] is really essential." 

While the facility will be owned by the county, Burley expects it to significantly help people unhoused in the greater Edmonds community. 

The bridge housing facility will allow Edmonds to enforce an ordinance it passed in May, which made it unlawful to stay on public property overnight. Burley said the law was considered unconstitutional without the ability to offer shelter considered equal or better than the current living situation. 

"So this gives us an opportunity to offer something that we feel provides dignity and really has an opportunity to help people along their path to recovery with the amount of services the county wants to provide," said Burley.  

The county plans to provide wraparound services, which include legal, behavioral, and mental health. The facilities will also have 24-hour staffing.

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