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There are many different concurrent actions being taken by different organizations to address the issue of aggressive begging.
The Everett Police Department (EPD) works to educate business owners interested in regulating conduct in their parking lots for the safety of their customers by making more effective use of their authority to enforce laws by partnering with the police department.
Additionally, the EPD and the Snohomish County Department of Human Services have partnered to hire a mental health community support specialist to serve as an embedded social worker, implementing one of the Community Streets Initiative task force recommendations. The community support specialist works with officers, including in the field, to better respond to a variety of street-level social issues, including chronically homeless individuals and individuals with mental illness who come into contact with the criminal justice system. There is also a large range of other responsibilities, including coordinating social service outreach and serving as liaison to the social service community.
In conjunction with the Streets Initiative, the Mayor’s Safe Streets proposal creates a specialized unit within the police department to work on street level social issues and criminal activity. This unit will be composed of four officers, a sergeant, an additional community support specialist and prosecutor resources.
Finally, EPD and the City of Everett are developing a public education and outreach campaign emphasizing alternatives to making direct giving to beggars. The City created a dedicated webpage to educate citizens on making charitable donations in lieu of direct giving to beggars. Also, signage is being developed to assist business owners in discouraging direct giving on their property and to provide information on how to donate.
Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center is a not-for-profit multidisciplinary team serving child victims of sexual or physical abuse in Snohomish County, Washington. Law enforcement, child protective services, medial, victim advocacy, prosecution and mental health agencies all work together at Dawson Place to deliver the vey best services to children and their families victimized by sexual or physical abuse.
Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County provides a wide range of services to victims of domestic violence including a 24 hour crisis line, emergency shelter for individuals and families who are in imminent danger, legal advocacy, supportive housing, a thrift store, community outreach, domestic violence prevention work and healthy dating and relationship classes.
Everett Gospel Mission is the largest homeless services center in Snohomish, Skagit and Island Counties and provides comprehensive life recovery programs, meals and shelter for 174 men, and 100 women and children.
The Everett Corps operates a food bank for adult-only households and provides hot meals Monday and Tuesday evenings at 5 p.m. that all are welcome to attend. The corps also has a case manager available to help with referrals and who oversees a housing program for families. Salvation Army offers assistance for prescriptions, hygiene kits, back to school supplies, Thanksgiving food boxes, Christmas food boxes and toys for children 0-12, and an emergency cold weather shelter.
Snohomish County Legal Services is a free legal aid program serving Snohomish County Residents experiencing poverty. Staff, pro-bono attorneys and volunteers provide information, advice and legal representation to ensure meaningful access to justice regardless of individual barriers and needs:
Andrew recently asked Lauren to accompany him on a tour of a sober living house, to get her input on whether or not she thought it would be a positive environment for him. Lauren also arranged for Andrew to get a chemical dependency (CD) assessment, and escorted him to the facility for the assessment. He started intensive outpatient treatment soon after his CD assessment. Andrew is doing great, and Lauren plans to continue to support him. (November 2015)
During the 4-month FareStart program, Angela will be housed and receive culinary training. She has also received a 12-step meeting list for the downtown Seattle area, which will allow her to start planning her support schedule. Both Andrew and Angela are supportive of each other in recovery, and both acknowledge that they each need to work on themselves before they can join again in sobriety. Lauren is looking forward to the next step of Angela’s progress when she is released and can begin her journey through FareStart and beyond. (November 2015)