Clallam County seeks housing solutions coordinator

Commissioners to hear more discussion after position is analyzed

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County wants to hire a “housing solutions and grant coordinator” to help the county’s housing solutions committee in its work.

The issue will be brought back to the commissioners in two or three weeks after gathering input, said Brenda Wenzl, a human resources analyst with the county.

Looking at similar coordinator positions at the city of Port Angeles and Olympic National Park, the salary could range from $57,500 to $82,300 per year, she said.

“I would favor moving that to the higher end because it’s not an easy job,” said Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach.

Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias said the position can be funded through both 2060 funds and 1590 money and definitely will last longer than two years.

Washington State House Bill 1590 allowed counties to pass a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax increase (Commissioners Ozias and Randy Johnson voted in favor; Commissioner Peach voted against) earlier this year to provide a revenue stream to support affordable housing projects.

Washington State Substitute House Bill 2060 provides funding for operation and maintenance of low-income housing projects and innovative housing demonstration projects.

The Clallam County Commissioners named this fund the Clallam County Affordable Housing Fund and make all funding decisions.

Ozias wrote in a later email, “We are considering whether to utilize a portion of this revenue, and/or ARPA dollars, to fund the Housing Solutions Coordinator position but have not made that final determination yet.”

Ozias said a housing solutions and grant coordinator position is something the commissioners have thought about since the housing solutions committee was formed in March of this year.

The commissioners want to do everything they can to make the committee a success, which will require developing metrics to gauge that success, he said.

Johnson said the city of Port Angeles has had its position for two years, which is a fairly long period of time, he said.

In May, the city of Port Angeles hired Holden Fleming as housing coordinator to work on projects to provide affordable housing and reduce homelessness. The city allocated $225,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the two-year position.

Peach said the ability to collaborate with other governments and groups is essential.

If they don’t fill the position, opportunities could be lost, he said.

It’s important to have someone in charge because housing is such a complicated issue, Ozias said.

“I totally agree it will be a long-term position. I consider this to be a key position,” Johnson said.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached by email at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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