PORT ANGELES — An organization aiming to help homeless veterans get back onto their feet has found a 22-acre property in Port Angeles on which to build a community of tiny houses.
For Matthew Rainwater, president and founder of Pennies for Quarters, entering into escrow for the property at 1430 W. Lauridsen Blvd. means his goal of helping veterans with temporary housing is now more than just an idea.
“This is pretty much perfect and allows us room to expand as well,” he said.
On this property, the tiny houses would be away and out of sight from the road on what is now just a flat grass-covered field behind the Lincoln Park Grocery store.
While the terms of the contract are confidential, Rainwater said that if Pennies for Quarters can raise $550,000, the organization would have enough money to buy the property and start building.
The plan for the property is to build a community of 40 tiny houses, which are houses that are just a few hundred square feet, and offer a one-year transitional program as veterans get their feet back on the ground.
The Pennies for Quarters community would include the tiny houses and a centralized community building, where veterans could do laundry, go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, socialize or use other services.
The community would be both drug- and alcohol-free as veterans transition out of a transient lifestyle.
He said among the benefits of the property is how close it is to public transportation, making it easier for would-be clients to go to work.
“The property is uniquely suited — out of all of Port Angeles — in that it fits our needs,” he said. “We are really, really excited.”
Rainwater has been quoted a price of $63,000 to build the central building and said there’s plenty of people who have said they would volunteer to help.
“The major issue is going to be fundraising for the property,” he said, but added he is hopeful now that a chunk of land has been identified.
“It’s not just a great idea that’s high in the sky,” he said. “It’s something tangible people can put their money toward.”
The property has a few rentals already on it, including Lincoln Park Grocery and homes rented by four households.
He said the plan would be to keep the store operating and at a minimum let the families continue renting until the end of their leases.
“We’re not going to make anyone homeless to help homeless people,” he said. “There’s four families living here.”
Whether Pennies for Quarters could continue renting the homes once leases are up was still up in the air, he said, adding it depends on what the organization is legally allowed to do.
Pennies for Quarters is hosting two events April 15 to raise funds for the projects and to answer the community’s questions.
First is a public question and answer event from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at The Landing mall, 115 E. Railroad Ave., Port Angeles.
Then, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., is a fundraising event at Bada NW Coffee Shop, 118 W. First St.
The fundraiser will feature a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, and food and drink specials, he said.
He said Bada has pledged to donate $1 from every 16-ounce cup of coffee sold during the event.
Rainwater encouraged those that want to provide items for the silent auction to contact Pennies for Quarters.
Donations can be sent to the Green Alliance for Veteran Education — with a notation that the donation is for Pennies for Quarters or P4Q — at P.O. Box 1705, Port Angeles, WA, 98362.
Pennies for Quarters also has a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/Pennies4Quarters.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].