By GERLY ADRIEN
As a City Councilor with a passion for helping people directly, I have noticed the lack of direct relief to people and small businesses in Everett.
Many families and individuals all across the country have been struggling to pay their utilities, rent, mortgages, need more food, and small businesses have needed a little more help.
Many thousands of Everett’s families are in the same exact position.
The CARES Act, the American Rescue Plan, and the money allocated by the state should be used wisely to correct systemic inequities and help people directly to get back on their feet across the nation and in Everett, especially.
We have crises in areas including, but not limited to, housing, employment, homelessness, a pandemic, food insecurity, physical health/ mental health/addiction, and systemic racism and colorism in our community. The big picture is we need to eradicate all of these.
Here is where I believe the money could be- gin to help:
Housing and Homelessness: Help with more Homeownership pathways and assist / partnerships with local banks to grow the number of homeowners from renters. Fund our own section 8 vouchers permanently (People who work multiple jobs are on the current waiting list for 10 years or more). Fund an Office of Housing Stability and staff it with a diverse group of employees to help housed and unhoused people. Give them the tools to help constituents with mental & physical issues and addiction when needed. We need dedicated advocates, not pencil pushers.
Small Businesses: Provide grants to business owners from Everett and locally. Provide a local preference for people who
employ people who live in Everett. Provide more funding to help businesses expand and to hire more Everett residents.
Employment: Staff a workforce development employment office for area jobs as well as city employees. Actively recruit people for these jobs and let high school students know what options they have when they graduate. Make the city application process anonymous (e.g., assigning a number to each applicant’s resume for the hiring committee to review and interviews behind a screen/zoom camera off) to ensure we are hiring the best candidates for each position.
Food Insecurity: Have the fresh truck or equivalent come out to different areas of Everett each week year-round. Give the local community garden more space for people to plant, restart the farmers market weekly with at least one paid staff member spring-fall. Make sure all of these take SNAP. Provide more food to help everyone who needs food. We should not limit who we are feeding.
Monthly Health Clinic: This should be staffed with nurses/doctors/therapists with no insurance necessary. Follow-up care through telehealth and office visits as determined essential by health professionals.
Systemic Racism/Colorism: Provide a real plan with actual action steps to help change the culture and change how we do business here. We need to add more members to boards and commissions, add minority contracts, restore community-driven work, and provide more resources. Let’s open the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
My work this month included helping people directly by helping 75 families in Everett with diapers, and baby wipes this past Saturday, April 24. I am doing my part to help as many people directly.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com, 617-835-8267, or http://www.gerlyadrien.com.
Gerly Adrien is an Everett Councilor at Large.