Taking a tough look at end to homelessness plan

The 2014 Annual Planning Forum on Ending Homelessness in Clallam County, set for today, June 18, takes on a grimmer tone.

“Last year we looked at the more-than-80 percent reduction in literal homelessness, accomplished since the county commissioners adopted the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in 2005 and talked about getting to zero homelessness,” Kathy Wahto, executive director of Serenity House of Clallam County and chairman of the Network, said.

“This year we’re looking at the added challenges arising due to prolonged hard economic times.”

The number of households which qualified for and received help to either stay housed or to get housing in the first quarter of 2014 increased more than 50 percent, compared to the same period in 2013, she said.

“Our intent is still to have resources in place by the end of the 10 years, in 2016, to respond to housing crises as they arise, so no one in Clallam County gets stuck in homelessness,” Wahto said, “but it takes jobs and employability to make housing sustainable.”

Presentations on building capacity to address the behavioral side of homelessness will come from Sally Beaven, director of Specialty Services’ proposed in-patient substance abuse treatment center in Port Angeles; Peninsula Behavioral Health’s Dee Dee Hansen on the coming Clallam County Respite Center; and Clallam County Drug Court coordinator Stormy Howell.

Legislative action to preserve funding for homelessness programs will be reviewed, with special recognition of the key support provided by District 24 legislators, Sen. Jim Hargrove, Rep. Kevin Van De Wege and Rep. Steve Tharinger.

Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., with coffee, tea and light refreshments available. Forum presentations begin at 9 a.m. and adjourn by 1 p.m.

To RSVP or for more information, call Shelter Providers coordinator Martha Ireland at 452-4737 or e-mail


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