Clallam County plans to funnel state funding to 15 housing projects

Clallam County commissioners are planning to direct state housing funds to 15 local projects to help alleviate the housing crisis.

The three commissioners on May 3 vetted funding recommendations of a Homelessness Task Force review committee.

The county received a combined $1.63 million in funding requests for homeless housing and assistance funds and affordable housing funds for the 2021-2023 funding cycle, Behavioral Health Program Coordinator Jennifer Oppelt said.

The five-member Homelessness Task Force subcommittee recommended the county distribute $1.15 million of that total.

Commissioners directed Oppelt to reconvene the subcommittee to consider additional state funding recommendations.

“We know that we have enough in the (state fund) reserve to handle fully funding all of these (requests), if that is the recommendation that comes back from the committee, but it may not be,” said Commissioner Mark Ozias, board chairman.

Commissioners are expected to discuss the revised funding recommendations next month.

The Homelessness Task Force subcommittee made its recommendations after three meetings in March.

Oppelt said the review committee would “look different” because two of its members had recently resigned.

“I know how important it is to get these resources out into the community,” Ozias said.

“So I would prefer that we move forward as quickly as we’re able, using a partial committee along with the insight and recommendations from our experienced staff members.”

Among its other recommendations, the Clallam County Charter Review Commission has directed commissioners to “reclaim and renew their primary leadership role in engaging a group of public and private organizations and businesses to creatively increase affordable housing availability, apply forward-thinking ideas proven to be successful in communities that have reduced the experience of homelessness effectively, and report progress back to the community every six months.”

Each organization that applied for state 2163 for programs and 2060 for capital housing funds received at least a partial funding recommendation.

Here are the funding requests (with recommended expenditures in parenthesis):

2163 funds

• $82,530 — Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula for life skills training and event programming for youth experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness ($82,530).

• $114,000 — Concerned Citizens of Clallam County for its “Foot Forward” program to provide housing and job support for homeless individuals and families ($72,935).

• $75,915 — Forks Abuse to provide shelter and housing support for domestic violence survivors ($75,828).

• $133,600 — Healthy Families of Clallam County for therapy, counseling, advocacy, crisis intervention, emergency housing and other services ($125,307).

• $200,000 — Lutheran Community Services Northwest for a project to provide triage, basic needs assistance, eviction mitigation, goal-setting and connections to community support ($124,535).

• $26,000 — Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) to support the Sequim Warming Center ($26,000).

• $81,618 — North Olympic Regional Veteran’s Housing Network to fund a case manager’s salary for Sarge’s Place in Forks ($81,618).

• $84,000 — Serenity House of Clallam County for a family shelter case manager ($60,000).

• $549,120 — Serenity House of Clallam County to support 24-hour shelter operations ($290,193).

• $86,848 — The Answer for Youth (TAFY) for operational costs ($39,534).

• $51,700 — TAFY for a transitional housing program for 20 men in early addiction recovery ($21,520).

2060 funds

• $25,000 — Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County for roofing two homes in the Maloney Heights neighborhood in Port Angeles ($25,000).

• $71,214 — Healthy Families of Clallam County for 65 percent of the cost of seven emergency housing apartment units ($71,214).

• $42,000 — North Olympic Regional Veteran’s Housing Network for utility assistance at shelters ($42,000).

• $11,410 — TAFY for two capital projects for safety and improved living conditions at a clean and sober house ($11,410).

Commissioner Bill Peach said he would support additional funds for the Concerned Citizens program.

“The clients they serve include clients that have developmental disabilities, mental health issues, aging, Alzheimer’s,” Peach said. “It really is an effective way to keep somebody in their house.”

Commissioner Randy Johnson noted that Serenity House had expanded its service from one meal per day to three meals per day at its 24-hour shelter in Port Angeles.

“I am not opposed to consideration for full funding of Serenity House’s request for the reasons that you both have just enumerated,” Ozias said.

“However, I think there’s a potential for a larger conversation with Serenity House, at least for me, to better understand how all of these programs are tied together.”

Peach said he welcomed communication with Serenity House officials “just to be comfortable with the allocation of the funds rather than ‘Here’s your check.’”

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