Guest Op-Ed: Helping the Homeless

By Mayor Carlo DeMaria

I have always been proud to be a resident of Everett. Part of that pride comes from knowing how much the residents of this City care about others and how they want to help when they see someone in need. I was reminded of this when I was asked recently about what Everett is doing to help the homeless individuals in our community. It’s that desire to help those in need of services that guides the work that the City is doing to help homeless individuals.

The issues and circumstances individuals face that lead to homelessness often are very complicated, including mental illness and substance abuse issues that impact a person’s ability to get an education, stay employed and remain in housing. Very often these individuals either don’t have family or have become estranged from their families due to the stress and pressure of their struggles. These are not easy issues to solve, so the City’s efforts are always going on because there are no quick fixes when working to help people to enter and maintain recovery needed to participate in public housing programs. When we meet individuals who are anxious and willing to accept the City’s help to get into programs, we still need to offer ongoing support and assistance for their longterm health and well-being.

Even when we are able to offer programs, services and housing to individuals, there is still the challenge of trying to help people who simply don’t want the help the City has to offer. But, that doesn’t stop us from trying.

The City is working with its network of public and private partners to direct homeless individuals who are in need and who want help to the services available to them. While the Everett Police Department has the assistance of a social worker and we have an Opiate Counselor with the Everett Fire Department, the City is hiring a Mental Health Clinician as part of our comprehensive approach to addressing these issues. Homelessness is an issue that impacts individuals as well as our community, which is why we use a collaborative approach towards implementing solutions.

Carlo DeMaria is the Mayor of Everett.

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