County Council Member Nehring’s order would require drug treatment for county housing tenants

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In connection with news that Snohomish County is considering purchasing a motel on Highway 99 in Edmonds to provide transitional housing for homeless people, County Council Member Nate Nehring filed an order requiring that tenants who have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder participate in a substance abuse treatment program. .

Nehring asked the county council to delay the vote on hotel purchases until the drug treatment ordinance can be reviewed.

The county offered to buy both America’s Best Value Inn and the Days Inn with pandemic recovery money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). America’s Best Value Inn would be purchased for $9.1 million and the Days Inn for $10.8 million.

The facilities are described as relay housing, designed to provide immediate shelter in a stable environment, with 24/7 support services. It is seen as a first step towards permanent housing and comes with medical and mental health assistance, employment services and other immediate needs.

Focusing on addiction recovery for people housed in county-owned shelters is key to addressing one of the root causes of homelessness, Nehring said. According to data published in the National Institutes of Health Library of Medicine, more than a third of homeless people also suffer from an addiction, he added.

“To address the root causes of homelessness, we need to take a compassionate approach to help those struggling get back on their feet,” Nehring said. “Warehousing people with addictions in hotels just to get them off the streets does not address the underlying causes of their situation and is not compassionate. My order would require these people to participate in a treatment program.

If passed, the ordinance would specifically apply to residents of county-owned hotels that have been converted to transitional or permanent supportive housing and would only apply to people with an alcohol-related disorder. substance use. County Council is due to vote on the purchase of America’s Best Value Inn in Edmonds and the Days Inn in Everett at their Aug. 17 meeting, which begins at 9 a.m.

Assuming county council approval, the purchase of America’s Best Value Inn will mark the first time this type of accommodation will be available in South Snohomish County.

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