Social worker making progress

Monroe pilot program showing homeless people being connected with needed human services

Kelly Sullivan

Since Monroe’s embedded social worker Elisa Delgado started her rounds on April 1, 52 clients have been identified within the city and contacts were made on 76 occasions.

As a result, those living unsheltered in the community have been connected with services 16 times.

Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer went down the list during the Aug. 8 Monroe City Council meeting. Of those people contacted, one has already completed detox, and two have completed inpatient treatment, he said. Three people have finished a chemical dependency assessment, and four have pending assessments, Quenzer said. Three people are now enrolled in housing programs, two other housing referrals have been sent out, and one person was heading out of state to receive support, he said.

The full-time embedded social worker position is intended to be a two-year pilot program. Monroe Police Sgt. Ryan Irving partners with Delgado, and the two are assigned to take calls and reach out to clients for two days a week. Delgado’s remaining hours are spent with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Councilmember Jason Gamble said he has been hearing that residents have noticed visible results.

“That is a third, 30 percent, of those you are in contact with you are helping move forward in the process, so I would just commend those efforts,” he said.

According to Snohomish County’s 2017 Point in Time summary report, nearly one in nine unsheltered people surveyed said they slept in Monroe or the Sky Valley the night before the one-day count on Jan. 24; nearly one in 13 said their last permanent residence was in the area.

The number of unsheltered homeless people in Snohomish County jumped 9 percent in 2016. That figure has doubled since 2013, according to the report. More than half of the unsheltered homeless surveyed this year were chronically displaced. The amount of homeless people living with one or more disabling conditions has increased by 132 percent since 2013.

The Snohomish County Council approved its end of the social worker agreement on May 17, and it took effect June 1. Monroe will contribute $50,000 per year, which is half the cost of the position. An off-road vehicle was also purchased to help Delgado and Irving reach secluded encampments.

Delgado’s position will be evaluated in two years. The department will provide regular updates to the council on contacts made as a result of the position.


Photo courtesy of Monroe Police: The Monroe Police Department trespassed people living on private property in town and contacted the owner in late July to get the area cleaned up.


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