PORT ANGELES — Clallam County has extended its lease with the Port of Port Angeles to provide a social distancing center for the homeless population during the coronavirus pandemic.
The three county commissioners approved Tuesday an assistance agreement with the port to continue the current lease, at a lower rent, for the 1010 building in west Port Angeles through Dec. 31.
The county’s current lease was set to expire Friday.
“My thanks to the Port of Port Angeles for their partnership,” Chairman Mark Ozias said before the vote.
Port of Port Angeles commissioners approved the same agreement Tuesday.
The new lease lowers the county’s monthly rent from $16,000 to $15,000. It requires the county to provide 24-hour indoor supervision and 12 hours of outdoor security per day.
“Presently, we have 24-hour security seven days a week that’s on the premises,” said Kevin LoPiccolo, assistant director of Clallam County Health and Human Services, in the commissioners’ work session Monday.
“The port did agree to reducing that to 12 hours a day.”
County Commissioner Randy Johnson, who was involved with the negotiations, said the new lease “made a lot of sense.”
“The fact that the port reduced (the rent) slightly, that’s important,” Johnson said.
“Most important was the fact that we now have 12-hour security, which absolutely, A, makes sense, and B, of course, will drop our cost significantly.”
Johnson added that the lease was “pretty straightforward.”
The rent was lowered by $1,000 because an unused section of the building was removed from the lease, LoPiccolo said.
The Social Distancing Center has an isolation wing for people with viral symptoms and space for healthy homeless individuals who cannot maintain 6 feet of physical distance.
The shelter near William R. Fairchild International Airport is being staffed with assistance from Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP).
It is serving about 50 individuals daily.
Clallam County received a $433,000 COVID-19 homeless-relief grant from the state Department of Commerce to fund the shelter’s startup and first three months of operation.
County Chief Financial Officer Mark Lane said the Commerce grant will be exhausted by the end of this month.
In addition to the rent, the county is paying about $32,000 per month to provide security and $30,000 per month to provide three meals daily for its 42 to 51 clients, LoPiccolo said in a prior work session.
Johnson has said the total monthly cost to the county is about $85,000.
Commissioners on Tuesday approved a call for an Aug. 11 public hearing on a series of debatable budget emergencies, including $425,000 for the continued operation of the COVID-19 social distancing shelter through the end of the year.
“Of this, $255,000 will be covered through the CARES Act, and then the remaining $170,000 will be funded through the general fund,” Lane said, referring to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
“The reason for that is, under CARES, we are only allowed to reimburse costs that are incurred through Oct. 31. So the CARES allotment, the $255,000, represents the estimated operating costs of that facility through the end of October.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].