OlyCAP selling two Port Townsend homes

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

Olympic Community Action Programs is selling two Port Townsend homes intended to house people with chronic mental illnesses to help the organization remain financially stable.

The decision was made to help ensure that the organization can continue to serve low-income clients in Clallam and Jefferson counties, OlyCAP Director of Operations Geoff Crump said Wednesday.

“We are making sure the organization is financially sound across the board so we can continue to provide all our programs and services in the community,” said Crump, who is set to become executive director of the nonprofit organization Jan. 1.

“Unfortunately, the priority right now to make sure we stick around for years to come,” he said.

“The goal is to serve as many folks as possible.

“The steps we are taking now will allow us to continue to do that for the next 50 years.”

The the board of directors that leads the nonprofit voted to sell the three-bedroom house at 4608 Holcomb St. and a six-bedroom house at 1433 Sherman St.

Crump said residents of the two homes have been moved into more permanent housing and that the residences have been completely vacant since June.

The decision to sell the properties was made a year ago, board Chairman Rich Ciccarone said Wednesday.

“It’s a healthy decision,” he said.

“OlyCAP has been under financial stress,” according to Ciccarone.

The organization has been facing funding cuts since 2007.

OlyCAP is subletting portions of its facilities in Port Angeles and Port Townsend, Ciccarone said.

“If we did nothing and stood idly by, we’d be having severe issues,” he said.

“We are just so focused on the finances of the organization.

“It needs to get healthy and we are getting there slowly and surely.”

Staffing the residences on a non-full-time basis had cost at least $40,000 a year, Crump said, not counting maintenance costs.

The expense of maintaining the properties “significantly increases” when dealing with people who do not have “ultimate responsibility” for the property, Crump said.

The properties “jeopardize the financial health of OlyCAP,” Crump said.

The cost of running the two homes “far exceeds the benefits,” he said.

“We do have the ability to provide a lot of other support services, potential housing and energy assistance, things like that, that we will continue to provide,” he added.

“Our skill set does not rest in providing services to folks that require a mental health professional.”

OlyCAP served 8,800 low-income individuals in 2011, he said.

Totals for 2010 and 2012 were not available Wednesday, Crump said.

In recent years, the organization has shut down or cut programs aimed at low-income residents.

In 2010, it discontinued a Jefferson County dental program that used portable equipment to serve patients.

In February 2011, OlyCAP closed dental clinics for low-income residents in Port Angeles and Forks.

The Port Angeles program opened in 2006 and had 5,500 patient appointments in 2010 and 1,000 emergency visits.

The two properties were formerly owned by Jefferson Mental Health when OlyCAP began running them in 2002, he said.

“OlyCAP made the decision to step in and help out and worked with the properties for the last 10 years,” Crump said.

Any time the community loses affordable housing, “it is a big hit,” he added.

The asking prices were based on the average of three market analyses that were made of the properties.

OlyCAP still owes the Department of Commerce more than $275,000 on the two homes.

The agency will be paid back with proceeds from the sale of the residences.

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 26. 2012 6:02PM
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