Snohomish County Councilmember pushes back against hotels for homeless residents

If you live in Snohomish County, it is definitely possible that hotels will open as homeless shelters in your area. It seems especially likely for Everett.

Snohomish County Council member Sam Low voted against the move to essentially approve a real estate company to search for potential hotels that meet certain criteria so they can be converted into a shelter. Together with fellow councillor Nate Neering, Law offered an amendment so that if the county decides to buy a hotel to use as a homeless shelter, there must be outreach and transparency.

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“For me, this is 100% about transparency and accountability to the public,” Low said on KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show. “I made an amendment to say, hey, before the county buys a hotel in any city, including Everett—and Everett is the city I grew up in, so I know that really well—let the elected officials know, let the public know. That amendment failed by 3 to 2. “

Low says, Everett City Council members saw an article in the Everett Herald about the county’s plan and reached out to Low, stating that they were unaware that the county was looking to buy a hotel in their city.

“And they are the elected officials, which is exactly why I wanted to move forward with my amendment,” Lu said.

“I know they talked about a message on Wednesday night at the city council meeting,” Law added of Everett City Council. “I know it’s coming next Wednesday where this message is being formalized, and I understand the message they’re going to send to the county saying, Hey, where did we vote on this? Because they voted for their constituents. And I think cities should have a voice in this process.”

Lu says the province’s bigger plan is to buy hotels in each county council area.

“This is just the first step,” he said, “and if they can sneak into that move, they can just play dominoes with the rest.” “I think it’s important that this is highlighted.”

Lu says he does not support the county government’s purchase of hotels.

“For me, it’s at the heart of county government, which to me is public safety, elections, and the courts,” he said. “Now it seems that the new core of the county government will be the hotel business, the hotel business without any public contribution. So I don’t think the county should be in the hotel business.”

Lu noted that Snohomish County has already partnered with local housing groups and a number of faith-based organizations to provide housing opportunities and options for homeless individuals.

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“Now we’re just throwing in — it looks like we’re getting rid of that model out the door and going to the King County model in Seattle to buy hotels,” he said. “And I have a problem with that.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekdays from 3-6pm on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to podcast here.

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