Forum on homelessness comes to Arlington

Less than a month ago, volunteers were gathering at the Stillaguamish Senior Center in Arlington to go count homeless people and while the numbers are still being tabulated, there is no doubt that homelessness is on the rise.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Weston High School Commons, Sno-Isle Libraries will host “Homelessness Here,” a public discussion exploring the causes and prevention of homelessness. The free event will be from 6:30-8 p.m. and moderated by Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert. The event address is 4407 172nd Street NE, Arlington.

The event will include a panel discussion followed by audience questions and comments. Panelists will include Kristen Cane, Housing Authority of Snohomish County Director of Development and Policy; Seanna Herring-Jensen, program manager at the Arlington Community Resource Center; Nicolas Quijano, Cocoon House Advocate Supervisor, and Lynda Plummer, assistant director of social services for Housing Hope.

Over the past three years, the number of unsheltered individuals in Snohomish County has increased by 33 percent, according to a 2016 Snohomish County Human Services survey. Two-thirds of those said “out of doors” when asked where they stayed the previous night. The numbers from the Jan. 24 Point in Time Count will be available later this spring.

The Arlington forum is the third of four as part of Sno-Isle Libraries’ ongoing Issues That Matter series. 

“When we ask residents in our communities what issues concern them most, homelessness is always high on the list,” said Sonia Gustafson, leader of the library district’s Issues That Matter team and manager of Lake Stevens Library. A strategic priority for the library district is “Building civic engagement to address community issues.”

The final forum in the “Homelessness Here” series will be Feb. 28, Mountlake Terrace Library, 23300 58th Ave. W.  

Issues That Matter programs are meant to encourage community conversations on high-profile topics. Details, along with links to library and community resources, can be found at  Funding is provided by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.