The Homeless Policy Advisory Committee (HPAC)
Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis with many causes. These range from losing a job, losing a home, mental/behavioral health or substance abuse, domestic violence and more. The impact of homelessness is a growing challenge that presents its own issues in the broader community. Obtaining treatment for mental health or substance abuse can be difficult, finding housing for individuals is lengthy, and getting people off the streets can be a process. Below you will find questions, answers and resources for helping those who need it.
Here is what the City of Monroe, at the direction of Mayor Thomas, is doing to address homelessness:
- Lobbying our State Senator and two State Representatives to ask them to change laws and to make certain there are facilities to get people the help they should be getting - we encourage citizens to reach out to: Senator Wagoner at http://keithwagoner.src.wastateleg.org/contact-me/, Representative Eslick at Carolyn.email@example.com, and Representative Sutherland at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org to share your concerns about this issue in Monroe and across our State and to ask them to continue to defend the tools we currently have (a bill introduced in the last legislative session would have made it harder for us to address this issue from a law enforcement perspective, for more info: House Bill 1591), while also expanding the tools and resources local governments need to address these issues.
- **UPDATE - Supreme Court Leaves in Place Ruling Protecting Homeless Who Sleep on Streets. For more info read this article published on December 16, 2019: Reuters Article. Expressing support for the City of Boise, which is headed to the US Supreme Court to defend their ability to enforce a sit-lie ordinance that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found unconstitutional. For more info: Martin v. City of Boise.
- Contacting other property owners in the City about how the management of their property affects our community. A recent audit showed that the majority of our local businesses have filed a Trespass Letter of Consent with our department. If you are a property owner and are interested in submitting a Trespass Letter of Consent then you can do so here.
- October 2019 a summary report was compiled exploring in detail the subject of Affordable Housing (PDF) in the City of Monroe
- September 2019 No Place Like Home (PDF), a document outlining model ordinances, program options, and innovative approaches was compiled as a resource to address homelessness in Monroe.
- September 30, 2019 WA Department of Transportation, with the assistance of MPD Officers, cleaned up several encampments on DOT property behind the Walmart complex. We continue to work with property owners to identify encampments, notify occupants to vacate, trespass violators, and clean the area.
- September 24, 2019 a letter was sent to the Snohomish County Council members from the City of Monroe Council in support of the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Officer with their Innovative Justice Initiative.
- September 24, 2019 Judge Rozzano upheld the City's Stay Out of Drug Area (SODA) order. This will allow the City Prosecutor to continue to request a SODA order on a defendant who has pending drug related charges.
Success Story - Since April 2017, the Monroe Police Department and Community Outreach Team have been engaging two individuals, a couple, often found in debris littered tent encampments, both within the City of Monroe and just outside, in unincorporated Snohomish County. This included locating them at the Skykomish River sites, in an area previously cleaned up by concerned citizens and River Junkies. Police Department staff report approximately 50-70 identified contacts with this couple since the outreach programs inception, several of which included arrests for crime and transport to Jail. Other contacts included skilled medical evaluation. Ultimately, in September 2019, after years of resistance, the couple accepted help and successfully graduated inpatient drug treatment. Both are currently housed in a neighboring jurisdiction at a clean and sober living facility and working towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.In April 2017, the City of Monroe in partnership with Snohomish County, established a Community Outreach Team which includes an embedded social worker, Elisa Delgado. Social Worker Delgado is in the City twenty (20) hours a week working with Officer Justin Springer, making contact with homeless people who are in need of services. The goal of the program is to consistently contact and engage people to address short and long term needs. Often this is accomplished by substance abuse treatment and clean and sober housing. This team regularly responds to complaints and goes into our City parks and other areas where encampments may be. The Snohomish Tribune and Everett Herald recently wrote articles regarding the Monroe Police Department's community outreach program. Click here to read the Snohomish Tribune article and here to read the Everett Herald article. On October 24, 2019, Q13 posted a video showing Monroe's efforts in homeless outreach, click here to read the article and watch the video. The Snohomish Tribune posted an article on March 4, 2020 regarding one man's journey into recovery, click here to read the article.
The pictures below are from a recent encampment that was located east of the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. Click here to read the corresponding article in the Everett Herald.
Community Outreach Team Statistics (PDF) 2019 Highlights (PDF) Archive Statistics (PDF)
City Parks Department
The City Park’s crew is also active in addressing the problems created by illegal encampments in our City parks. In 2018, parks personnel spent 297 hours removing 164 bags of debris and litter from 27 encampments. In 2019, parks personnel spent 109 hours removing 104 bags of debris and litter from 48 encampments. Parks personnel are vigilant in conducting weekly checks of our parks to report to police any new encampments and remove any litter that may be left behind. If you see an encampment call 911 or the non-emergency number at 425-407-3999.
Parks Homeless Response Data (PDF)
Here are some common available resources. If you have other resources that could be added, please email RAdams@MonroeWA.gov with the link and a brief description of services offered.
211 - Health and human service information and referrals and other assistance to help individuals.
Beck’s Place - Foster boarding that cares for pets while families access services that will allow them to achieve stability.
Cocoon House - Non-profit outreach for homeless and at-risk youth in Snohomish County.
Housing Hope - Affordable housing including emergency shelter, transitional housing, affordable rent units, and home ownership opportunities.
Monroe Women’s Gospel Mission - Temporary emergency shelter serving the homeless population including but not limited to , releases from hospitals, crisis beds and inpatient treatment centers, domestic violence situations, and those living in situations not fit for human habitation.
Take the Next Step - Local community resource center for services and guidance to help meet the basic needs of people.
Snohomish County Health District Opioid Information - Information pertaining to opioids and clean needle exchange program.
Sky Valley Resource Guide - Handout with local resources, support information, and treatment centers.