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Sat Sep 14, 2019, 01:25 PM Sep 2019

Critics and allies sounded off on controversial housing plan

EVERETT — A contentious plan to build low- to moderate-income apartments in the Port Gardner neighborhood continues to draw criticism from many neighbors.

A Thursday night meeting also drew a handful of supporters on the project proposed by Housing Hope and the Everett School District aimed at homeless students.

Earlier this year, the school district declared the lot in the 3600 block of Norton Avenue excess land and agreed to lease the property to the nonprofit for 75 years.

“We didn’t choose this site, it happens to be a property that is surplus, nobody planned this,” Fred Safstrom, Housing Hope’s CEO, told a crowd of about 20. “The school district saw this as an opportunity to use this land as a way to help these students get to school.”

Last year the district had 1,266 students experiencing homelessness.

The agreement with the school district includes 34 low- to moderate-income apartments. That number could potentially grow to 50, Safstrom said. Families experiencing homelessness with children at Sequioa High School would be given first priority, followed by homeless households with students in the school district.


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