The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on July 27 approved federal funding to help end homelessness among veterans and their families in Clallam, Jefferson, Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties. The Northwest Washington Rural Project, led by the Opportunity Council of Whatcom County, will aid veterans’ families who are homeless or at risk of losing their housing.
North Olympic Peninsula participants in the $684,000 Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant are Serenity House of Clallam County, the Olympic Community Action Program and the Peninsula Housing Authority.
All the partners are drivers in implementing local plans to end homelessness, are experienced in working with veterans and have strong track records as lead entities for similar programs, said Kathy Wahto, Serenity House executive director.
“This award gives us added resources toward our long-time goal of making sure everyone who has served our country in the military has secure housing,” said Wahto.
The added funding for services and financial assistance should become available in September.
Veterans who are homeless or whose housing is at risk will receive help through existing service locations. Primary intake offices are the Housing Resource Centers operated by Serenity House and the Housing Authority, and an HRC that OlyCAP anticipates opening in Port Townsend. Already in operation since 2007 are Serenity House HRCs at 535 E. First St., Port Angeles, and 203 N. Sequim Ave., #11, Sequim, and a Housing Authority HRC at 91 Maple Ave., Forks.
The 12-month project is anticipated to aid at least 275 extremely low-income veteran households across the region. Funds will be disbursed according to documented need, rather than geographically, with nearly one-third of the dollars likely to come to needy veterans in Clallam and Jefferson counties, Wahto said.
The Northwest Washington Rural Project was one of just two Washington applications selected for funding by the new Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, which awarded nearly $60 million nationwide to 85 nonprofit community agencies. The other recipient is Community Psychiatric Clinic of Seattle, which received nearly $507,000, bringing total Washington awards to just under $1.2 million.
U.S. Reps. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, whose 6th Congressional District includes Clallam and Jefferson counties, and Rick Larsen, D-Everett, both wrote letters of support for the application submitted in March.
For more information, visit va.gov/homeless or call toll-free 877-4AID-VET.