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The original item was published from 8/14/2015 3:17:26 PM to 8/29/2015 12:05:01 AM.

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Snohomish County News

Posted on: August 14, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Executive Lovick calls for a countywide summit to address homelessness

Executive Lovick calls for a countywide summit to address homelessness, mental health and chemical dependency

Snohomish County Executive John Lovick is calling for a countywide summit to be held this fall to address the growing and urgent concern of how homelessness, coupled with the lack of adequate mental-health and chemical-dependency treatment, is impacting communities and the well-being of residents countywide.

There are a number of efforts underway designed to address these issues, including the great work of the Everett Streets Initiative, the Chemical Dependency/Mental Health Program Advisory Board, the Partnership to End Homelessness, and the Homeless Policy Task Force. Each of these bodies has launched important strategies, including the initiation of coordinated entry into housing and services for homeless individuals and families; the embedding of social workers with the Everett Police Department and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office; the establishment of a Triage Center in Everett; enactment of homeless encampment protocols; the creation of the South County Detox Center; and the anticipated opening of the Snohomish County Rapid Recidivism Reduction Center in the Carnegie Building on the County Campus, which will provide temporary housing, treatment, and employment assistance in a single location.

Executive Lovick has started reaching out to elected officials, community leaders, and the chairs of task forces and committees that have initiated this work to merge their efforts into a unified, countywide response.

According to Executive Lovick, “Many of our most vulnerable citizens utilize services that span multiple systems. They face the challenges of overlapping mental-health and substance-use issues that result in homelessness as well as in repeated, expensive, and avoidable contact with the health care, emergency medical services, crisis care, and criminal justice systems. We need a coordinated response to address these issues and their impact countywide.”

This concern is echoed by County Councilmembers Brian Sullivan and Stephanie Wright who have committed to participating in the summit. Councilmember Sullivan states, “I applaud the City of Everett Streets Initiative; now it’s time to focus similar efforts at a countywide level.”
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick, and Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith have also expressed interest in participating.

The half-day summit, currently in the planning stages, will begin with a tour of the Carnegie Building, which will be home to the new Rapid Recidivism Reduction Center. Summit participants will provide updates on the work that has been undertaken by their committees, craft shared action items, and launch a task force to oversee that these issues are addressed through a unified and collaborative response.

Please contact Stephen Clifton, Snohomish County Executive Director, at 425-388-3660 or Stephen.clifton@snoco.org for more information.

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