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Arlington seeks input about homelessness

 


City of Arlington officials are looking for the public’s opinions about the local homeless population in a recently released public survey.

The survey is available online at bit.ly/2mXCJBC.

The city received a grant from the United Way of Snohomish County to begin looking at local homelessness, and used those funds to hire a consultant.

“We’re using the United Way grant to assess what services are available,” said Heather Logan, director of administrative services at the city of Arlington.

“Homelessness is not going away,” Logan said, with numbers showing around a 50 percent increase in Snohomish County since 2013, according to information in the annual Point-In-Time count.

“I think City Council is being smart about looking into this issue now, and then asking how can we ‘move the needle’ on homelessness,” she said.

The research is also meant to show what groups of homeless people the city has.

“I expect, like most areas, there will be two populations of homeless individuals,” said Logan. Usually there is a group of “temporarily homeless” consisting of families and other individuals, and then a group of “chronically homeless.”

“And [the chronically homeless] is the population that has more problems such as drug addiction,” she said.

“We want to look at the services we provide to all of our homeless populations, how they are working, and what overlaps and gaps exist in those services,” she said.

The consultant the city hired, Julie Frauenholtz, has a good deal of experience looking at homeless in the Snohomish County area.

Frauenholtz is a coordinator at the Everett Community Streets Initiative, another local project focused on homelessness and the “street level social issues” that surround them.

“That project is one of the ways things like embedded social worker programs [where social workers partner with police officers] have been becoming more popular in the county,” said Logan.

Because of that work, she is “seasoned help,” which is “generally a good thing to have,” said Logan.

“She already knew a ton about the region and what works and what doesn’t work,” said Logan.

Frauenholtz has already begun work researching homelessness around the Arlington area.

“She has been all over the place, at businesses, and at service providers like schools and hospitals,” said Logan.

The consultant is looking at what points the community is interacting with the homeless population.

“How are we interfacing with homeless people,” said Logan.

More work is going to come out of those efforts as well, said Logan. “There is still a ton to do.”

As part of those efforts though, city officials also hope to hear want people think about the local homeless populations.

“We would be remiss if we didn’t seek out what the citizens and people of Arlington think about the homeless populations here,” said Logan.

To that end the city and the consultant have released a public survey for anyone in the Arlington area to comment.

The survey at bit.ly/2mXCJBC is meant to provide a way for the community members to give their opinions, said Logan.

 

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